“Art Performs Life”

Walker Art Center

As its title, “Art Performs Life,” suggests, the common thread in the work of each of the dancer/choreographers examined in this exhibition—Merce Cunningham, Meredith Monk, and Bill T. Jones—is a commitment to disrupting the boundaries traditionally drawn between “art” and “life” in both planning and performing dance. In that sense, this aesthetic outlook grounds these artists’ work in the most iconoclastic avant-garde tradition of the twentieth century, going back to the collaborative performances of Dadaist cabaret and the Happenings and performance art of the ’50s and ’60s.

Viewers were welcomed into the exhibition by a large photographic mural of Blauvelt Mountain, a 1980 performance by Jones and Arnie Zane, showing the two dancers’ bodies dancing against an austere concrete-block wall. Directly in front of this mural, an identical wall jutted out at an angle into the viewer’s

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