New York

Martha Clarke

Lincoln Center

In the ’80s, Martha Clarke, who began her career as a choreographer and founder of the group Pilobolus, stepped from the dance scene into the art world. Though the highly visual quality of her work seemed to justify moving into an art/performance context, this shift turned out to be a mistake. By abandoning inventive choreography for high-gloss imagery, Clarke has nurtured one talent at the expense of another. Had she kept her dancers dancing rather than walking and posing against fantastic backdrops, works such as Vienna Lusthaus (Vienna whorehouse, 1986) or Miracolo d’Amore (The miracle of love, 1988) could have been evocative and inventive ballets instead of the extravagant, scenic shells that they were.

Clarke’s most recent evening-length production, An Uncertain Hour, 1995, presented as part of Lincoln Center’s “Serious Fun!” summer series, remained focused on image-making. Still

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