Trisha Brown, Group Primary Acummulation, 1973; Donald Judd Untitled, 1988, Donald Judd Untitled, 1991: Lucinda Childs, Sol LeWitt, Philip Glass, Dance, 1979; Sol LeWitt, Serial Project ABCD 5, 1968.
Loretta Howard Gallery is pleased to announce its September 2015 historical exhibition “Where Sculpture and Dance Meet: Minimalism from 1961 to 1979.” Through the pairing of videos of historic performances and sculptures, the exhibition explores the dialog surrounding concurrent ideas associated with minimalism in art and dance. Focusing on a small group of closely-knit colleagues, the exhibition charts an ongoing circuit of ideas across disciplines.
The strategies used to circumvent subjective methods of composition became a lingua franca between this group of burgeoning choreographers and sculptors. Yvonne Rainer’s seminal early works guide dancers through series of task-like movements. In her 1968 essay A Quasi Survey Of Some “Minimalist” Tendencies In The Quantitatively Minimal Dance Activity Midst The Plethora, or and Analysis of Trio A she explains that “The changes in theater and dance reflect changes in ideas about man and his environment that have affected all the arts” thus linking the new tendencies in dance to those in sculpture.
The sculptor Robert Morris also created performance pieces in the early 1960s. He built several early sculptures in Yoko Ono’s loft that evoked the performative nature of viewing and creating art. Also shown in this space was Simone Forti’s Dance Construction, Slantboard (1961). A wooden platform at a 45-degree angle served as the locus for the functional movement of performers. The sculptor and choreographer, who were married at the time, were involved in a conversation about how the artist can activate objects and spaces and how objects can serve as a device for activating movement.
Silver Clouds, Andy Warhol’s installation of helium filled pillows, became the set for Merce Cunningham’s groundbreaking dance Rainforest (1968). The dancers encounter the Silver Clouds as they float in and across the space, reflecting the choreographer’s conceptual exploration of dancers and objects in a set that was never fixed.
Trisha Brown’s Group Primary Accumulation (1974), presented at the Walker Art Center, offered an altered understanding of the beauty and power of simple movements repeated. Brown insinuated principles of mathematics, modularity and repetition into her choreography sharing concerns with Donald Judd, her neighbor and longtime friend who later collaborated with her on sets and costumes.
The exhibition culminates in the convergence of minimalism in dance, art and music in Lucinda Child’s Dance (1979), collaboration with Sol LeWitt and Philip Glass.
Essayist Wendy Perron is the author of Through the Eyes of a Dancer and former editor in chief of Dance Magazine. She was an independent choreographer for 30 years and danced with the Trisha Brown Company in the 1970s. Co-curator Julie Martin is an independent scholar, currently Director of Experiments in Art and Technology (EAT) and an active collaborator in the New York art and dance community.