Stig T. Karlsson’s photograph of Steve Paxton (left) and Robert Rauschenberg (right) in *Jag vill gärna telefonera (I Would Like to Make a Phone Call)*, 1964. Performed in Five New York Kvällar (Five New York Evenings), Moderna Museet, Stockholm, September 13, 1964. Courtesy Moderna Museet, Stockholm

Between 1961 and 1965, Steve Paxton (American, b. 1939) toured as a dancer in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. During that time he also made his own choreographic work and collaborated with Robert Rauschenberg, the company’s lighting, set, and costume designer. In 1964, the two performed Jag Vill Gärna Telefonera (I Would Like to Make a Phone Call), in which they interpreted a collage of mostly sports photographs by mimicking each pose while freely linking the images through their physical movement and contact. The work anticipates Contact Improvisation—a collaborative movement practice Paxton developed in his 1972 performance Magnesium, in which participants use touch rather than sight to generate movement together.

In 1982, Paxton gave the score for Jag Vill Gärna Telefonera to his student, Stephen Petronio, who performed the work with Randy Warshaw. For this exhibition, Stephen Petronio Company will reconstruct the 1982 version and create new interpretations of Paxton’s score. This program also includes Paxton’s The Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach Played by Glenn Gould Improvised by Steve Paxton (1986–92), an ethereal solo that Paxton performed in empty dance halls and in the woods, among other unorthodox locations.

Stephen Petronio Company’s reconstructions of Jag Vill Gärna Telefonera (1964)
Stephen Petronio Company’s Excerpt from Goldberg Variations (2017), based on The Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach Played by Glenn Gould Improvised by Steve Paxton (1986–92)

Performed by members of Stephen Petronio Company: Bria Bacon, Ernesto Breton, Jaqlin Medlock, Tess Montoya, Ryan Pliss, Nicholas Sciscione, Mac Twining, Megan Wright

  1. Sunday, December 9,
    12:00 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  2. Sunday, December 9,
    1:30 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  3. Sunday, December 9,
    3:00 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  4. Monday, December 10,
    12:00 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  5. Monday, December 10,
    1:30 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  6. Monday, December 10,
    3:00 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  7. Tuesday, December 11,
    12:00 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  8. Tuesday, December 11,
    1:30 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  9. Tuesday, December 11,
    3:00 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  10. Thursday, December 13,
    12:00 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  11. Thursday, December 13,
    1:30 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  12. Thursday, December 13,
    3:00 p.m.

    Followed by a discussion with the artist
    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  13. Friday, December 14,
    12:00 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  14. Friday, December 14,
    1:30 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  15. Friday, December 14,
    3:00 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  16. Saturday, December 15,
    12:00 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  17. Saturday, December 15,
    1:30 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
  18. Saturday, December 15,
    3:00 p.m.

    The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2, Marron Atrium
    Free with Museum admission
This performance accompanies Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done.
This performance is part of Steve Paxton Performance Program.