Submitted by Susan Miller on Fri, 06/12/2009 - 20:06.
Merce Cunningham is brilliant even as he transitions his company to its end.
"The plan calls for the Cunningham trust, which was established in 2000, to assume control of Mr. Cunningham’s personal art collection, including works by Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, who each designed sets for him. It will also take charge of the sets, props, costumes, archives and the digital “capsule” of each dance, which will include video, audio, lighting designs, and production notes.
The final two-year tour will offer a “triumphant conclusion to the creation phase of Merce’s work,” a document outlining the plan says.
Mr. Cunningham has stipulated that tickets to New York performances should cost $10."
“As far as I’m concerned,” he said, “if they close the present company down, they can start building something else.” Another uncertainty is whom Mr. Cunningham will name as successor trustees, and thus who will control his legacy. They are likely to come from his closest associates, who include Robert Swinston, his assistant; Trevor Carlson, the foundation’s executive director; and Laura Kuhn, executive director of the trust for the composer John Cage, Mr. Cunningham’s longtime collaborator and companion.
I would prefer it not be Mr. Swinston. I saw him perform Merce's roles at their last visit here and found that Swinston lacked two key ingredients in Merce's performances - a sense of wonder (with oneself performing) and humility. But that's just me.
It is good to see Merce involved in his own work's transition.
Three of my teachers, Albert Reid, Chase Robinson and Susanah Hayman-Chaffey performed with Merce.
Here is a 1964 work, Septet