The Walker has long been committed to supporting and presenting cross-disciplinary, boundary shifting art. The collection features work that embraces an expanded possibility of the art object and the institution consistently commissions new projects by visual, performance, and media artists crossing over into other fields. The New York Times recently recognized the Walker for this commitment, noting it as “one of the few major American institutions to throw its weight behind contemporary, interdisciplinary artistic practice.”
In recognition of these aims, the Walker was recently awarded a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to embark on an ambitious, three-year Interdisciplinary Initiative. “Contemporary artists have blurred the lines between artistic disciplines for decades, and museums and performing art centers like the Walker must remain responsive to these evolving practices,” said Philip Bither, McGuire Director and Senior Curator of Performing Arts. “The Walker is honored to have this opportunity and support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation which allows us to forge new directions for interdisciplinary art now and into the future.”
Launched in July 2016, the Interdisciplinary Initiative has several goals: to advance scholarship around the intersection of performance and visual art; to chart new directions for the acquisition, display, and interpretation of holdings; and to advance research and publishing across disciplines. The Walker is also commissioning, developing, and presenting new work by artists exploring and moving freely between the gallery, stage, and public space, including Maria Hassabi, Theaster Gates, and Laure Prouvost. In addition, this spring the Walker will present a new three-part project that surveys the work of American jazz pianist, composer, and visual artist Jason Moran; and in January 2019, will premiere new works by Lebanese actor, playwright, and visual artist Rabih Mroué.
The Interdisciplinary Initiative is the latest in a long history of Walker projects to receive lead funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In recent years, it has supported the Walker’s longstanding commitments to commission and develop new American dance and import large-scaled global performance works. It also underwrote fellowships, research, and conservation efforts around the major acquisition of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company Collection in 2011.
Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.