Welcome to our 2008/2009 season,
It is hard to imagine a more spectacular and fitting way to open a Walker performing arts season than by restaging, on the floor of a breathtaking granite quarry, the monumental Ocean. The most ambitious project ever conceived by Merce Cunningham and John Cage, two of the 20th century’s towering artistic figures, this work embodies key hallmarks of our program high-level artistry, interdisciplinary innovation, audacious risk-taking, partnership, site-specific production, and a sustained commitment to artists but pushes them to new, previously unimagined levels.
Ocean is, however, only the opening chapter of this diverse seasons story. The 27 events reflect our world through the eyes of artists what it means to be human and where our culture may be heading. The Walkers decision to commission seven new works for the season, one of the largest numbers in our history, helps fill a critical gap in the American cultural landscape, a place where many of our most essential innovators don’t have standard support structures to sustain their work.
This year, the genre of music-theater is radically rethought by artists of distinctly different generations and backgrounds: David Gordon, Cynthia Hopkins, and Jay Scheib. The UK Performance Now! series surveys the rich and diverse live art scene in England and Wales, introducing four artistic voices new to the Walker and the United States. Some of the season highlights reflect on the social whiplash of our times (The Builders Association, Toshiki Okada /Chelfitsch, Young Jean Lee, Tim Crouch), while others look back to 20th-century history/artworks to rethink the age we live in now (National Theater of the USA, David Gordon, Jay Scheib).
The creative ferment bubbling up in the outer reaches of the rock and pop universe is reflected through rare concerts or special projects by such mavericks as Stephin Merritt / The Magnetic Fields, Will Oldham (Bonnie Prince Billy), Dean and Britta, and Dave Longstreth /Dirty Projectors, who join a mix of global music innovators, modern classical composers, and new jazz heroes to round out one of the most fertile music lineups in recent years.
Extreme intimacy and expansive spectacle; increasingly blurred lines between disciplines; surprising, sometimes disturbing visions; new performance art forms offered in new kinds of ways. I look forward to sharing these adventures with you over the coming year.
William and Nadine McGuire Senior Curator, Performing Arts