New York

Merce Cunningham

Margarete Roeder Gallery

It should come as no surprise that Merce Cunningham’s drawings demonstrate an extraordinary talent for catching the tiniest ripple of a muscle, or that his hand so deftly manipulates the shapes of moving objects on a plain white surface. Yet his collection of pencil and pen drawings, more than twenty of which were exhibited here alongside his better-known dance notations, does manage to surprise. Confident with his tools, Cunningham builds full-blown three-dimensional forms as fully with colored-pencil cross-hatching as with a single continuous he in ballpoint pen. When he colors white paper between black outlines, the effect shows both his formal understanding of composition and his pleasure in the decorative amalgam of geometry. Animals (a running dog, a strutting duck), not dancers, and plant life (flowers and twigs], not stage sets, are eloquently rendered. These works capture the

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