Walker Art Center

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Press Releases Walker Art Center Acquires Merce Cunningham Dance Company Collection

Collection contains set pieces, costumes, and painted drops created for company by artists including Rauschenberg, Cage, Johns, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Kawakubo, and Neto

The Walker Art Center and Cunningham Dance Foundation (CDF) announce the Walker’s acquisition of a comprehensive collection of artist-made set pieces, costumes, painted drops, and props, created for the internationally renowned Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC). Over the course of his nearly 70-year career, Merce Cunningham (1919-2009) redefined the visual and performing arts through pioneering collaborations with leading artists, designers, and musicians. More than 150 objects created by such artists as Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, John Cage, and Frank Stella will arrive at the Walker this year and be displayed for the first time beginning in November 2011. The placement of these works at the Walker supports a key goal of CDF’s Legacy Plan—ensuring the preservation and ongoing accessibility of the Company’s singular collection of 20th century art.

The acquisition of major works from the MCDC collection aligns with the Walker’s cross-disciplinary collecting strategy and its mission to present contemporary art in a multidisciplinary context, in order to foster an understanding of the nexus between artistic disciplines. The acquisition marks a major landmark in both the museum and dance fields, making the Walker a new center for research and scholarship of Cunningham’s work, and presenting a new model for preserving works created by multiple artists in support of a single choreographer’s artistic vision.

Robert Rauschenberg, décor for Merce Cunningham’s Minutiae