How to See: Judson Dance Theater

January 31, 2019

Judson Dance Theater approached dance in a spirit of ongoing inquiry rather than as a set of defined techniques. To embrace this, the MoMA exhibition Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done incorporated live performances of dances by some of the group’s original members as well as younger dancers. Five decades after her works premiered, one of Judson’s key figures, the choreographer and dancer Yvonne Rainer, performed with a group of dancers on September 17, 2018, in MoMA’s Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium. For this episode of How to See, Rainer and dancers and collaborators Patricia Hoffbauer and Pat Catterson met with curators Ana Janevski and Thomas J. Lax to watch and comment on a video of the performance. Their spontaneous, intimate reflections—including the many decisions of live performance and the shifting contexts of gesture and response over time—animate the dances and how we, in turn, see them.

Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done (September 16, 2018-February 3, 2019) was organized by Ana Janevski, Curator, and Thomas J. Lax, Associate Curator, with Martha Joseph, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance Art. Performances were produced by Lizzie Gorfaine, Producer, with Kate Scherer, Manager, Performance and Live Programs.