Merce Cunningham: Common Time

8 Feb 2017 – 30 Jul 2017

Walker Art Center

Minnesota, United States


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Merce Cunningham’s dynamic artistic collaborations are the subject of a major interdisciplinary survey organized by the Walker, home to the complete scenic and costume archive of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC).


Renowned as both choreographer and dancer, Cunningham (American, 1919–2009) revolutionized dance through his partnerships with leading artists who created costumes, lighting, films, music, and décor and whose independent creative instincts he held in the highest regard. Common Time offers a journey through a range of experiential installations that unfold at the Walker in seven galleries, the theater, the cinema, and public spaces throughout the museum.

Known for embracing risk and chance, Cunningham believed in the radical notion that movement, sound, and visual art could exist independently of each other, coming together only during the “common time” of a performance. The exhibition presents Cunningham’s work and that of his network of collaborators through rare and never-before-seen moving image presentations and installations of décor and costumes from the MCDC Collection as well as pieces by his lifelong collaborator, composer John Cage, and Trisha Brown, Tacita Dean, Jasper Johns, Morris Graves, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Isamu Noguchi, Nam June Paik, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, David Tudor, Stan VanDerBeek, Andy Warhol, and many others.

Cunningham embraced an expanded possibility of dance, music, and visual art that reads like a how-to guide for pushing the boundaries of art for subsequent generations. In this spirit, the exhibition will also feature new performing arts commissions as well as live dance and music in the theater and galleries. Presentations include a series of in-gallery Events, site-responsive collages of Cunningham repertory performed by dancers from the final company as well as new commissions from leading figures in contemporary choreography and composition, including Charles Atlas/Rashaun Mitchell/Silas Riener, Beth Gill, Maria Hassabi, and John King, among others.

The landmark exhibition will investigate the unique working methods, profound relationships, and influence of a choreographer whose singular approach to sharing a “common time” remains one of the most inspirational models of the 20th century for interdisciplinary practice.

What to expect? Toggle


Philip Bither

Fionn Meade

Mary Coyne

Joan Rothfuss

Exhibiting artists

Trisha Brown

Maria Hassabi

Tacita Dean

Charles Atlas

Jasper Johns

John King

John Cage

Yoko Ono

Robert Morris

David Tudor

Beth Gill

Bruce Nauman

Bruce Nauman

Stan VanDerBeek

Isamu Noguchi

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol

Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg

Rashaun Mitchell

Merce Cunningham

Yvonne Rainer

Frank Stella

Nam June Paik

Silas Riener

Morris Graves


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