Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226541242 Will Publish January 2020
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226541105 Will Publish January 2020
E-book $35.00 Available for pre-order. ISBN: 9780226541389 Will Publish January 2020

Merce Cunningham

After the Arbitrary

Carrie Noland

Merce Cunningham

Carrie Noland

304 pages | 17 color plates, 54 halftones | 7 x 10 | © 2020
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226541242 Will Publish January 2020
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226541105 Will Publish January 2020
E-book $35.00 ISBN: 9780226541389 Will Publish January 2020
One of the most influential choreographers of the twentieth century, Merce Cunningham is known for introducing chance to dance. Far too often, however, accounts of Cunningham’s work have neglected its full scope, focusing on his collaborations with the visionary composer John Cage or insisting that randomness was the singular goal of his choreography. In this book, the first dedicated to the complete arc of Cunningham’s career, Carrie Noland brings new insight to this transformative artist’s philosophy and work, providing a fresh perspective on his artistic process while exploring aspects of his choreographic practice never studied before.
Examining a rich and previously unseen archive that includes photographs, film footage, and unpublished writing by Cunningham, Noland counters prior understandings of Cunningham’s influential embrace of the unintended, demonstrating that Cunningham in fact set limits on the role chance played in his dances. Drawing on Cunningham’s written and performed work, Noland reveals that Cunningham introduced variables before the chance procedure was applied and later shaped and modified the chance results. Chapters explore his relation not only to Cage, but also Marcel Duchamp, Robert Rauschenberg, James Joyce, and Bill T. Jones. Ultimately, Noland shows that Cunningham approached movement as more than “movement in itself,” and that his work enacted archetypal human dramas. This remarkable book will forever change our appreciation of the choreographer’s work and legacy.
Contents
Introduction

One  Recycling the Readymade: Marcel Duchamp and the Rendez-Vous in Walkaround Time
Two  Summerspace: The Body in Writing
Three  Nine Permanent Emotions and Sixteen Dances: Drama in Cunningham
Four  “Passion in Slow Motion”: Suite for Five and the Photographic Impulse                   
Five  Bound and Unbound: The Reconstruction of Crises
Six  The Ethnics of Vaudeville, the Rhythms of Roaratorio
Seven  Buddhism in the Theatre
 
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Review Quotes
Dance Magazine
"Drawing from previously unseen materials in the Cunningham archive, Noland puts forward that an overemphasis on his use of chance downplays the choreographer's compositional skill and sense of theater - and that the two viewpoints are not mutually exclusive."
Judith Rodenbeck, author of Radical Prototypes: Allan Kaprow and the Invention of Happenings
"What a terrific addition to the library! Noland is  . . . taking the received understanding of Cunningham, and working against its fetish terms of chance, indeterminacy, nonnarrative, and so forth, to probe instead for Cunningham’s interest in human connections and particularities. The effect of moving through Noland's text is of an unfolding of multiple issues and optics, many of them fundamentally biographical, all in turn shaping the kinesthetics of Cunningham’s expertise as dancer and as choreographer. Rather than presenting the evanescent medium of dance as a linear compositional project, Noland shows it as constellational–recursive, dialogic, felt, meant, and, most importantly, thought."
Rachel Haidu, author of The Absence of Work: Marcel Broodthaers 1964-1976
"Merce Cunningham:After the Arbitrary is a rigorously argued, extremely persuasive, and highly topical book. While Cunningham’s work is famous for being almost tortuously difficult, Noland successfully reads it through the arbitrary and the human, the abstract and the motivated, the structural and the personal. She has done so, moreover, with a fluid voice that moves easily between the register of observation and the metacritical. It is at once historical, theoretical, and formalist, making it a model of scholarship in any humanist field. Noland moves deliberately, examining not only a sequence of Cunningham’s dances but their interlocking relationships with other choreographies, both contemporaneous and otherwise."
Mark Franko, author of Martha Graham in Love and War: The Life in the Work
“In this groundbreaking study of the work of Cunningham, Noland redefines the very terms with which it came to prominence in the 1960s and has continued to be discussed. Her revisionist gesture is not only timely: it heightens the significance of his work for us today.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style

Keep Informed

JOURNALs