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Trisha Brown Dance Company: Performance 11: On Line

From Dancing in Museums: A Decade of Movement

The Museum of Modern Art’s 2010–11 exhibition “On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century” featured a number of performances in the museum’s atrium—one of the building’s most central and highly visible spaces—including works by the choreographers Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Ralph Lemon, Xavier LeRoy, and, as featured in this video, the postmodern dance trailblazer (and visual artist) Trisha Brown. Like Merce Cunningham, Brown was dancing in the museum long before its current popularity. In 1971, her Walking on the Wall sent dancers striding and bounding along the walls of the Whitney Museum, parallel to the floor, suspended by harnesses attached to the ceiling.

Created in silence, the early Brown works in “On Line” were well-suited to the atrium, where the acoustics are not ideal for live or recorded music. And while the atrium can present spatial difficulties, it also confers architectural benefits. As the rehearsal director Diane Madden points out here, the surrounding balconies allowed for a bird’s-eye view of Brown’s geometrically precise choreography, and for an inventive reimagining of Roof Piece, which was originally performed on smattering of SoHo rooftops.

December 10, 2019

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Curated by

Siobhan Burke