Peter Moore’s photograph of David Gordon in Mannequin Dance, 1962. Performed in Dance Concert of Old and New Works by David Gordon, Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, Judson Memorial Church, January 10, 1966. © Barbara Moore/Licensed by VAGA at ARS, NY. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

During his work as part of Judson Dance Theater, David Gordon (American, b. 1936) was interested in how choreography brings disparate elements together on stage, and how these elements are perceived by audiences. Gordon performed his solo Mannequin Dance (1962) at Judson Dance Theater’s inaugural concert in 1962. The following year, his growing fascination with show business and pop culture was visible in Random Breakfast (1963), performed with his partner, dancer Valda Setterfield. In 1971 Gordon choreographed a group piece, The Matter (1971), during a Grand Union residency at Oberlin College, and it was performed a year later at the Cunningham Studio. Throughout that performance, forty dancers—both trained and untrained—suddenly froze, or took positions and revised them, and Setterfield performed a solo using the early photographic motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge as its guiding structure. The Matter also included some poses taken from the earlier Mannequin Dance. Since 1972, The Matter has continued to evolve and add other references from Gordon’s previous work. It was performed in his loft in New York in 1979, where it included extracts from his Bayadere (1977) and Close Up (1979). In 2012 it was performed at Danspace Project in New York with excerpts from Bayadere, Chair (1974), Close Up, Muybridge (1979), and Mannequin (1962). The artist has conceived a new version, THE MATTER @ MoMA, especially for this exhibition.