The second and third installments of MoMA’s new Performance Exhibition Series consist of live performances dedicated to early choreographic works by Simone Forti (American, b. Italy 1935) and Yvonne Rainer (American, b. 1934)—two key figures of the 1960s minimalist dance movement who defined a new language of physical movement.
Both artists have been deeply influenced by Anna Halprin’s revolutionary technique of improvisation, which freed the dancer’s body from the rigid fragmentation and artificiality of choreographed movement. The choreographic works, performed in the Museum’s galleries, were conceived in the context of the legendary Judson Dance Theatre in New York in the 1960s. They favor the pedestrian over the virtuosic, the everyday over the dramatic, and welcome chance as a creative factor.
Trio A is a well-known dance sequence by Yvonne Rainer. Since its first presentation in 1966 as part of the larger performance The Mind is a Muscle, Part 1 at Judson Memorial Church in New York, it has been performed repeatedly in various forms and contexts by dancers and nondancers alike. The piece comprises a sequence of unpredictable movements that unfold in a continuous motion, deliberately opposing familiar dance patterns of development and climax. Trio A is performed at MoMA by Pat Catterson, a professional dancer, and Jimmy Robert and Ian White, two visual artists and nondancers, in front of a projection of a historical recording of Rainer’s own 1978 performance of the piece.
The Performance Exhibition Series is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator, and Jenny Schlenzka, Assistant Curator for Performance, Department of Media and Performance Art.