The Judson Dance Theater Comes Alive at MoMA – 贾德森舞蹈剧院在MOMA活跃起来

Fiddling with his ear, dancer David Thomson recites Vladimir Nabokov’s 1952 lecture at Cornell University on the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. He peeks down the neck of his shirt, then traces his hand along the length of his arm before giving his imaginary hair a toss. (He’s bald.) Another dancer, Keith Sabado, executes the same gestures seconds later. The dancers are never synchronized, and their movement is light and clear, lacking affectation or overt theatricality. The duet ends, and they exittify the stage.

This performance is a restaging of Yvonne Rainer’s Transformation (1963), a duet from her series ‘Talking Solos’. The piece debuted in the midst of a fecund period in the ‘downtown’ dance scene, which is now the subject of Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Organized by curators Ana Janevski and Thomas J. Lax with Martha Joseph, the exhibition focuses on three years – 1962 to 1964 – when a group of artists and performers put on a series of 16 free concerts at Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village that challenged ideas about dance and performativity. Can dance be someone combing their hair? Or moving a set piece? Solving a problem? The answer was yes.    


The Judson Dance Theater Comes Alive at MoMA - 贾德森舞蹈剧院在MOMA活跃起来

Peter Moore’s photograph of Lucinda Childs in Pastime, 1963, Surplus Dance Theater: Program Exchange, New York. Courtesy: Barbara Moore, VAGA at ARS, New York and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Though it is tempting to say the Judson years inaugurated a new era of dance, The Work makes clear that many of the artists involved, such as Judith Dunn, James Waring, Cecil Taylor, Simone Forti, had vibrant artistic lives before and after these performances and were not working in isolation. The ‘movement’ – or loose association, rather – depended on other thinkers and activists of the time, and the artists are shown as both a product of their surroundings and the instigators of change. Contextualizing photos of happenings at the Reuben Gallery, Village Voice articles about combating traffic in Washington Square Park and a Floating Bear newsletter addressing editor LeRoi Jones’s arrest for publishing obscene art are all displayed alongside dance props and live performances. While much of the show is made up of archival material, dance is always at its centre. Dancers perform works by Rainer, Deborah Hay, David Gordon, Lucinda Childs, Steve Paxton and Trisha Brown – some for the first time in decades.


The Judson Dance Theater Comes Alive at MoMA - 贾德森舞蹈剧院在MOMA活跃起来

Simone Forti, Huddle, 1961, performance, Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done, MoMA, New York. Courtesy: MoMA, New York; photograph: Paula Court

Objects ranging from the ominous (a thick rope hanging from the ceiling) to the playful (a seesaw) are arranged in DOWNTOWN – the room which locates the movement geographically and culturally – and are activated occasionally during the week for performances of Simone Forti’s work. In SANCTUARY, the exhibit’s final room, mementos line the walls, grouped together to illustrate key concepts. Two large freestanding video screens show short films and excerpts from performances. Pictures of David Gordon’s Mannequin Dance (1962) are displayed next to text that reads: ‘Gordon claims to have conceived Mannequin Dance while in a bathtub waiting for A-200 to take effect on a bad case of crabs.’ When something goes wrong at the ballet an illusion is shattered, but in these works it was embraced.                  

It all feels a little safe, even clean in the museum’s walls – somewhat at odds with the brief, gritty, fleshy era the show covers. Though the ecstatic silliness that comes with breaking the rules is evidenced throughout, the grittiness of the work can only be inferred from photographs and written records. This is to be expected. After all, ‘The Work Is Never Done’ is a celebration. 

‘Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done’ runs at the Museum of Modern Art, New York until 3 February.

Main image: Deborah Hay, ten, 1968, perfomance, Judson Dance Theater, MoMA, New York. Courtesy: MoMA, New York; photograph: Paula Court

Russell Janzen

Russell Janzen is a New York-based writer and a dancer with the New York City Ballet.

Opinion /

Judson Dance Theater
New York
Russell Janzen

舞者大卫·汤姆森摆弄着耳朵,背诵了弗拉基米尔·纳博科夫1952年在康奈尔大学关于从毛虫到蝴蝶转变的讲座。他把衬衫的领口偷看,然后在他假想的头发扔之前,沿着手臂的长度描出他的手。(他是秃头)另一个舞蹈家,Keith Sabado,几秒钟后也做同样的手势。舞蹈者从不同步,他们的动作轻盈而清晰,缺乏矫揉造作或明显的戏剧性。二重唱结束了,他们鼓动舞台。这个表演是对Yvonne Rainer的转换(1963)的一次休息,这是她的系列“独唱”的二重奏。这幅作品在“闹市区”的舞蹈场景中初次亮相,现在成为贾德森舞蹈剧院的主题:纽约现代艺术博物馆的作品从未完成。展览由馆长安娜·贾内夫斯基和托马斯·J·拉克斯与玛莎·约瑟夫共同主办,展出的重点是三年——1962年至1964年——一群艺术家和表演者在格林威治村的贾德森纪念教堂举办了一系列16场免费的音乐会,挑战了关于舞蹈和表演的想法。积极性。跳舞能让人梳理头发吗?还是移动一块?解决问题?答案是肯定的。礼貌:芭芭拉·摩尔,纽约ARS的VAGA,和纽约的保拉·库珀美术馆。虽然说贾德森时代开创了一个新的舞蹈时代是诱人的,但《作品》清楚地表明,许多涉及的艺术家,如朱迪丝·邓恩、詹姆斯·沃林、塞西尔·泰勒、西蒙·福蒂,在表演之前和之后都有着充满活力的艺术生活,并没有孤立地工作。“运动”——或者说是松散的联系——依赖于当时的其他思想家和活动家,而艺术家们既是周围环境的产物,又是变化的推动者。在鲁本美术馆发生的事件的背景照片中,关于华盛顿广场公园打击交通的乡村之声文章和漂浮熊通讯都与舞蹈道具和现场表演一起展出,该通讯在编辑勒罗伊·琼斯因出版淫秽艺术而被捕时发表。虽然大部分节目都是由档案材料组成的,但舞蹈总是以其为中心。舞蹈演员们表演雷纳、黛博拉·海伊、大卫·戈登、露辛达·柴尔德斯、史蒂夫·帕克斯顿和特丽莎·布朗的作品——其中一些是几十年来第一次。1961_forti_huddle14.jpg The Judson Dance Theater Comes Alive at MoMA - 贾德森舞蹈剧院在MOMA活跃起来 Simone Forti,Huddle,1961,演出,贾德森舞蹈剧院:工作从未完成,MoMA,纽约。礼貌:MoMA,纽约;照片:Paula Court Objects,范围从不祥之物(从天花板上悬挂的一条粗绳)到顽皮(跷跷板)都布置在下面——这个房间在地理上和文化上定位运动——偶尔会被激活。为Simone Forti的作品表演一周。在桑克蒂厄里,展览的最后一个房间,纪念碑排列在墙上,聚在一起说明关键概念。两个大独立电视屏幕显示短片和节选表演。戴维·戈登的人体模特舞(1962)的照片显示在文本旁边,上面写着:“戈登声称自己构思了人体模特舞,而在一个浴缸里等待A 200对一只坏螃蟹起作用。”当芭蕾舞出了什么问题时,一种错觉就被粉碎了,但在T这是一个很安全的地方,甚至在博物馆的墙壁上都是干净的,这与展览所涵盖的短暂、坚韧、肥肉的时代有些不同。虽然打破规则的欣喜若狂,但事实证明,工作的粗细只能从照片和书面记录中推断出来。这是意料之中的事。毕竟,“工作永远不会完成”是一个庆典。“贾德森舞蹈剧院:这项工作从未完成”在纽约现代艺术博物馆,直到2月3日。主要形象:Deborah Hay,十,1968,演出,贾德森舞剧院,纽约,妈妈。礼貌:MoMA,纽约;照片:Paula Court.Russell Janzen.Russell Janzen是纽约作家,也是纽约市芭蕾舞团的舞蹈演员。意见/贾德森舞蹈剧院


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