This past week, the McGuire Theater has been occupied with the unpacking, photographing, and re-rolling of many of the Cunningham backdrops. The drops came to the Walker folded down and packed in portable touring -friendly hampers and bags (imagine a large sleeping bag in a small scrunch sack). But now that they are here to stay, they are being rolled flat on long cardboard cylinders, to eliminate creases and stabilize their condition. Although we have already hung several of the drops in theater in preparation for the exhibition Dance Works I: Merce Cunningham / Robert Rauschenberg, this is the first time that any of the drops are being formally photographed by the Walker’s photographers Gene Pittman and Cameron Wittig.
The Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s Production Director Davison Scandrett has also been on site, documenting some of the drops and other set pieces for the company’s dance capsules. The Merce Cunningham Trust’s dance capsules will facilitate the licensing and recreation of some of Merce Cunningham’s existing dances, so that even though the company has disbanded, educational institutions and other dance companies can still present Merce’s work.
The artists represented in this first batch of backdrop photos include Jasper Johns, Afrika, and Marsha Skinner. The photographers also documented drops by William Anastasi and Robert Rauschenberg, which will be featured in another upcoming post.