Walker Art Center

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“It’s difficult to convey in words how Gill’s work is both crystalline and earthy, spare, yet complex.” —ArtsJournal

Minneapolis, April 6, 2017—Known for her exacting rigor and mesmerizing precision, Bessie Award–winner Beth Gill makes choreography that is spare yet playful, stark yet beautiful. In Brand New Sidewalk, Gill teams up with composer Jon Moniaci and lighting designer Thomas Dunn to create a sparse and elegant diptych born of questioning the value of formalism in dance. This evocative new piece for four dancers explores themes of alienation, erasure, and power, illuminating the compositional pleasure of the Merce Cunningham legacy while refracting it for our times through Gill’s unique lens. Brand New Sidewalk will be performed Friday-Saturday, May 5–6, 8 pm, in the William and Nadine McGuire Theater

Brand New Sidewalk is a part of Merce Cunningham: Common Time performances.

Beth Gill has been making contemporary dance and performance in New York City since 2005. Her body of work examines issues within the fields of contemporary dance and performance studies through a focused exploration of aesthetics and perception. Gill’s works include Untitled (2006), Eleanor & Eleanor (2007), what it looks like, what if feels like (2008), and Electric Midwife (2011), New Work for the Desert (2014).

Gill has been commissioned by New York Live Arts, The Chocolate Factory, The Kitchen, and Dance Theater Workshop. Her performances have toured at national and international venues including Fusebox Festival, Texas; The Nazareth College Dance Festival, New York; and Dance Umbrella, United Kingdom. Following her FCA support, Gill received a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award (2015), was a 2013-2015 New York City Center Choreography Fellow, and a 2015-2016 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Extended Life artist-in-residence. Prior to her 2012 Grants to Artists award, Gill received a 2011 Time Out New York “Best Dance of 2011,” a New York State Dance and Performance “Bessie” Special Juried Award (2011), and a New York State Dance and Performance “Bessie” Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Award (2011).

Gill received a B.F.A from New York University’s Tisch School of The Arts (2003). She began her dance training with Rose Marie Menes and Tami Horowitz at the Westchester Ballet Center as well as the New York State Summer School of the Arts where she trained with Carolyn Adams and Julie Strandberg. Gill is a member of The Hatchery Project, a multi-residency program and has been a guest artist and instructor at Barnard College, Eugene Lang College the New School for Liberal Arts, and Arizona State University.

Merce Cunningham: Common Time

Merce Cunningham’s dynamic artistic collaborations are the subject of a major interdisciplinary survey organized by the Walker, home to the complete scenic and costume archive of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC). Renowned as both choreographer and dancer, Cunningham (American, 1919–2009) revolutionized dance through his partnerships with leading artists who created costumes, lighting, films, music, and décor and whose independent creative instincts he held in the highest regard. Common Time offers a journey through a range of experiential installations that unfold at the Walker in seven galleries, the Walker’s McGuire Theater, the Walker Cinema, and public spaces throughout the museum.

Exploring Cunningham’s notion that movement, sound, and visual art could share a “common time,” the exhibition presents Cunningham’s work through rare and never-before seen moving image presentations and installations of stage décor and costumes from the MCDC Collection. These are contextualized through more than 60 works from a range of artists, including composer John Cage, Cunningham’s lifelong collaborator, and William Anastasi, Charles Atlas, Trisha Brown, Tacita Dean, Jasper Johns, Morris Graves, Rei Kawakubo, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Isamu Noguchi, Nam June Paik, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Elaine Summers, David Tudor, Stan VanDerBeek, Andy Warhol, and many others.Cunningham embraced an expanded possibility of dance, music, and visual art that reads like a how-to guide for pushing the boundaries of art for subsequent generations. In this spirit, the exhibition will also feature new performing arts commissions as well as live dance and music in the theater and galleries. Presentations include a series of in-gallery Events, site-responsive collages of Cunningham repertory performed by dancers from the final company as well as new commissions from leading figures in contemporary choreography and composition, including Charles Atlas, Beth Gill, Maria Hassabi, John King, Rashaun Mitchell, and Silas Riener, among others.

The landmark exhibition will investigate the unique working methods, profound relationships, and influence of a choreographer whose singular approach to sharing a “common time” remains one of the most inspirational models of the 20th century for interdisciplinary practice.

Merce Cunningham: Common Time is organized by the Walker Art Center, and copresented with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. The exhibition is curated by Fionn Meade and Philip Bither with Joan Rothfuss and Mary Coyne. The exhibition is on view at the Walker thru July 30, 2017.

Tickets to Beth Gill’s Brand New Sidewalk are $22 ($17.60 Walker members) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600

This work is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund project created in partnership with the Walker Art Center, The Yard, American Dance Festival, and NPN.

Support for Brand New Sidewalk provided by Producers’ Council members King’s Fountain/Barbara Watson Pillsbury and Henry Pillsbury.

The Walker Art Center’s performing arts programs are made possible by generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through the Doris Duke Performing Arts Fund, the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Producers’ Council
Performing Arts programs and commissions at the Walker are generously supported by members of the Producers’ Council: Goodale Family Foundation; Nor Hall and Roger Hale; King’s Fountain/Barbara Watson Pillsbury and Henry Pillsbury; Emily Maltz; Dr. William W. and Nadine M. McGuire; Leni and David Moore, Jr./The David and Leni Moore Family Foundation; Mike and Elizabeth Sweeney; and Frances and Frank Wilkinson.

Merce Cunningham: Common Time is organized by the Walker Art Center. Lead support for the project is provided by the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Generous support is also provided by Agnes Gund and the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

Major support for the Walker’s commissions and presentation is provided by the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Beth Gill New Work for the Desert Photo: Alex Escalante