On each Thursday in March we will be diving into weekly spotlights of the iconic artists part of our 2015 Season at The Joyce Theater. Throwback your Thursdays with us to learn where the season’s artists were in 1968, the year Merce Cunningham premiered his iconic work, RainForest.
This week we’re indulging in a brief, silver survey of a prolific artist: the one, the only, Andy Warhol. As one of the striking elements of RainForest, Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds live a life of their own, reaching (and floating) to all corners and heights of the stage.
An excerpt from Andy Warhol’s The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again):
I got a little into technology a couple of times. One of the times was when I thought it was the end of my art. I thought I was really really finished, so to mark the end of my art career I made silver pillows that you could just fill up with balloons and let fly away. I made them for a performance of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. And then it turned out they didn’t float away and we were stuck with them, so I guessed I wasn’t really finished with art, since there I was, back again, putting anchors on the pillows. I had actually announced I was retiring from art. But then the Silver Space Pillows didn’t float away and my career didn’t float away, either. Incidentally, I’ve always said that silver was my favorite color because it reminded me of space, but now I’m thinking that over.
The Andy Warhol Museum blogged about the present-day, behind-the-scenes process of installing Silver Clouds in their museum:
Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds: More Than Just Hot Air.
by Matt DiClemente, April 3, 2014
One of the most mesmerizing pieces at The Warhol is Silver Clouds, floating metallic ‘pillows’ hovering in space allowing viewers to become physically enrapt in the installation. Defying gravity and expectations, you may have wondered just how Silver Clouds works, and what the daily behind-the-scenes maintenance entails. Read more –>
Silver and Flesh
Here’s a short anecdote from Merce Cunningham: Fifty Years, edited by David Vaughan that illuminates the discussion about costumes between Merce Cunningham, Andy Warhol, and world-renowned artist and former Merce Cunningham Dance Company Artistic Advisor Jasper Johns.
When asked about the costumes, Warhol said he would like the dancers to go naked. Cunningham felt this wouldn’t work, so he put them in flesh-colored leotards and tights, and asked Johns if the texture could be roughened in some way. Thinking of an ancient pair of practice tights Cunningham wore that was full of holes and tears, Johns cut and ripped the fabric of the dancers’ costumes with a razor blade.
And just in case you haven’t checked it out yet, the Merce Cunningham Trust has a fantastic Dance Capsule of RainForest that includes original documents, images, and videos. Take a look!
Tune in next Thursday for a 1968 spotlight on the electronic composer, David Tudor.
Melissa Toogood, Photo: Sarah Silver