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Daniel Arsham at work on the Merce Cunningham set
Daniel Arsham at work on the Merce Cunningham set

DANIEL ARSHAM FOR MERCE CUNNINGHAM FINALE

Dec. 12, 2011

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Just before legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham died in 2009, the Cunningham Dance Foundation set to work planning the two-year “Legacy Tour,” a 40-city traveling retrospective of 18 of Cunningham’s most important works. The tour, kicked off in February 2010, revives staging elements from Cunningham’s frequent collaborations with artists, which included Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol.

Now, the tour is making its final stop with six specially commissioned performances at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. Daniel Arsham, the youngest and also the last artist to work with Cunningham while he was alive, designed the set, lighting and costumes. Arsham, whose art works often cut across lines of architecture and performance, first started working with Cunningham in 2007, when he designed the décor for the performance eyeSpace.

For the final series, which is being called Events, Dec. 29-31, 2011, Arsham took inspiration from a magnified photograph of a cloud. The result is a suspension of thousands of polyethelene balls from the ceiling that form one giant pixilated mass. The performance itself consists of a “choreographic collage” of various works from Cunningham’s career, set on three stages in the Armory’s drill hall.

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