Merce Cunningham Space Chart Entrance and Exit. Drawing for the dance Suite by Chance 1952

  • Not on view

This page is from Cunningham’s dance Suite by Chance, created the same year as the premiere of Cage’s 4’33”. Lifelong collaborators in art and life, Cage and Cunningham frequently allowed their respective music and dance compositions to intersect.

In the early 1950s, Cunningham was inspired by Cage to add an element of unpredictability to his work by following chance operations, such as the flipping of a coin, to choreograph the body’s movements. Cunningham noted, “Suite by Chance is exactly what the title says. . . . In applying chance to space I saw the possibility of multidirection. Rather than thinking in one direction, i.e. to the audience in a proscenium frame, direction could be four–sided and up and down.” Christian Wolff—credited for introducing Cage to Zen Buddhism—composed a score for magnetic tape to accompany Suite by Chance, making it an early dance piece incorporating electronic music.

Gallery label from There Will Never Be Silence: Scoring John Cage’s 4’33”, October 12, 2013–June 22, 2014.
Ballpoint pen and pencil on colored graph paper
7 x 7" (17.8 x 17.8 cm)
The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection Gift (purchase, and gift, in part, of The Eileen and Michael Cohen Collection)
Object number
© 2024 Merce Cunningham
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].