Arthur Wesley Dow
Carrie Mae Weems
"Trisha Brown: So That the Audience Does Not Know Whether I Have Stopped Dancing" considers the lesser-known visual arts practice of one of the most acclaimed contemporary choreographers at a moment of increasing interest in the broad sweep of her work and its influence. "In Focus: Photography from the Mills College Art Museum Collection" featuring work by 30 artists. Works range from images by pivotal photographers to contemporary artists where photography is just one element of their multi-faceted practices.
So That the Audience Does Not Know Whether I Have Stopped Dancing
The exhibition is curated by Peter Eleey, Visual Arts Curator, Walker Art Center.
The Mills College Art Museum is pleased to present Trisha Brown: So That the Audience Does Not Know Whether I Have Stopped Dancing from January 20 through March 14, 2010. A conversation with Trisha Brown and John Killacky will take place on January 27 at 5:30 pm in Danforth Lecture Hall followed by a public reception from 6:00-8:00 pm in the Art Museum; and a Mills Repertory Dance Company performance of Planes, 1968.
While Trisha Brown is best known for her innovative choreographies that revolutionized modern dance, she has for many years made drawings and other works beyond the stage that integrate the performing and visual arts. The exhibition presents a particular occasion to consider the lesser-known visual arts practice of one of the most acclaimed contemporary choreographers at a moment of increasing interest in the broad sweep of her work and its influence. Drawing has long featured prominently in Brown's maverick practice, shifting from a tool for schematic composition into a fully realized component of her broader investigation into the limits of her own body.
Early in her career, Brown created works in which performers walked on the walls of a gallery or down the exterior façade of a building—rather than on the floor. The exhibition takes inspiration in its structure from Brown's interest in reorienting the performer and audience, with a performance installation that places live dancers on the wall of the gallery, and a participatory audio work that invites visitors to lie on the gallery floor and contemplate the ceiling. The former work, Planes (1968), is a major early performance that includes a film by Jud Yalkut and soundtrack by Simone Forti; the latter, Skymap (1969), was Brown's one attempt to engage the ceiling as a performative surface.
The exhibition centers on a broad survey of Brown's drawings going back more than three decades. To a significant degree, the arc of Brown's work in drawing parallels her developments in dance, and footage of seminal performances is present throughout the exhibition. Turning to video to help compose dances freed Brown to make her drawings more "private and experimental," says exhibition curator Peter Eleey." Looking at 35 years of Trisha's drawings, you watch her discover and embrace ways in which the line she draws can have bigger and more direct connections to her body and its movements." Whether she is working within the frame of a sheet of paper, on the wall, or on the stage, Brown delights in the play between structure and improvisation, between repetition and invention, and between choice and chance. "I get involved in the mystery of space," she says. "I have the same adrenaline and heartbeat going as I enter the paper as I do going on stage."
An icon of contemporary dance, Trisha Brown is regularly seen in the world's great opera houses and festivals. She has consistently pushed the limits of choreography, creating some of the most compelling and visually powerful work of the past four decades—from her roots in the experimental Judson Dance Theater to her early site-specific dances that took place on rooftops and walls to the fluid, precise movement of her 30 years of staged pieces.
Trisha Brown's work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions, most recently Documenta 12, and she has directed numerous operas. She is the first woman choreographer to receive the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and has been awarded many other honors, including the National Medal of Arts in 2003. She was named Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France in 1988; was elevated to Officier in 2000; and then to the level of Commandeur in 2004. Brown's Set and Reset is included in the baccalaureate curriculum for French students pursuing dance studies. At the invitation of President Bill Clinton, Brown served on the National Council on the Arts from 1994 to 1997. Brown received her DFA from Bates College in 2000 and her BA from Mills College in 1958.
Trisha Brown: So That the Audience Does Not Know Whether I Have Stopped Dancing is organized by Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
The exhibition at Mills College has been supported by the Joan Danforth Art Museum Endowment.
Photography from the Mills College Art Museum Collection
Curated by Stephanie Hanor
The Mills College Art Museum has been an important center for photography since the early 1930s, a particularly rich period of photographic development in the Bay Area. The Museum’s collection contains works by many of the preeminent San Francisco-based photographers of the time, such as John Gutmann, Ansel Adams, and in particular, Imogen Cunningham, whose images capture the campus and student life at Mills College.
From vintage prints to contemporary images, the Museum continues to exhibit and collect works that epitomize photographic processes and experimentation. Featuring pieces by approximately 30 artists, In Focus offers a snapshot of the Museum’s unique photographic holdings. Works range from images by pivotal photographers such as Edward Weston and Tina Modotti, to examples by artists better known as painters such as René Magritte and Arthur Wesley Dow, to contemporary artists such as Olafur Eliasson and John Baldessari, where photography is just one element of their multi-faceted artistic practices.
Artists in the exhibition include: Bernice Abbott, Ansel Adams, John Baldessari, Erwin Blumenfeld, Wynn Bullock, Paul Cadmus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Barbara Crane, Imogen Cunningham, Jay DeFeo, Arthur Wesley Dow, Olafur Eliasson, John Gutmann, René Magritte, Tina Modotti, Roi Partridge, Wilbur Porterfield, Catherine Opie, Gary Prather, Man Ray, Frederick Sommer, Alec Soth, Joel Sternfeld, Aaron Suskind, Catherine Wagner, Carrie Mae Weems, Edward Weston, Minor White, Catherine Yass, and Nina Zurier.
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Openings Reception: January 27, 6:00−8:00 pm
Mills College Art Museum
5000 MacArthur Boulevard Oakland, CA 94613
Tuesday-Sunday 11-4pm; Wednesday 11-7:30pm
Admission is free