MINNEAPOLIS, July 12, 2016 – The Walker Art Center today announced a $1 million grant awarded from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The funds will underwrite a three-and-a-half year interdisciplinary initiative focusing on the intersection of performance, performing arts, and visual arts, culminating in newly commissioned work by nine artists and a national convening of leaders in the field in winter 2019.
“Contemporary artists have blurred the lines between artistic disciplines for decades, and museums and performing art centers like ourselves must remain responsive to these evolving practices,” said Olga Viso, Walker Art Center Executive Director.
Launching in July 2016, the initiative will focus on three areas of work:
– A production initiative that explores new ways of commissioning and presenting the work of interdisciplinary artists and expanding the audience experience. The initiative will result in the presentation of 9 new, large-scale commissioned events by leading global artists who are working across artistic disciplines, including jazz/visual artist Jason Moran, dance/living installation artist Maria Hassabi, and French/British video/performance artist Laure Prouvost.
– The advancement of new models for museums to collect, document, archive, and conserve interdisciplinary work, including the enrichment of the Walker’s online platforms while making work more visible and accessible.
– A research initiative designed to broaden and deepen related scholarship that will conclude with a national convening held at the Walker in 2019, resulting in a presentation of the initiative’s findings in addition to a national conversation among curators, artists, producers, and scholars.
Continuing through December 2019, the interdisciplinary initiative will be led by Fionn Meade, Artistic Director, and Philip Bither, William and Nadine McGuire Director and Senior Curator of Performing Arts. Two new fellowship positions will be created for the duration of the initiative, and Adrienne Edwards, Curator at Large, Visual Arts will support the curatorial team.
This significant and prestigious award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recognizes the essential national role the Walker has played for decades forging the intersections between contemporary visual art and performing arts. One example is the upcoming exhibition Merce Cunningham: Common Time, which will appear simultaneously at the Walker and MCA Chicago beginning in February 2017. Presenting works from the Walker’s Merce Cunningham Dance Company archive acquired in 2011 with research and scholarship underwritten by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Common Time features pieces by lifelong collaborator John Cage as well as Charles Atlas, Tacita Dean, Jasper Johns, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol, among others. The exhibition will also include new commissions that incorporate music and dance, such as performances of Walker Cunningham Events by former company dancers, extending Merce Cunningham’s trajectory of influence to the present.
About the Walker Art Center
One of the most internationally celebrated art museums and multidisciplinary art centers, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is known for presenting today’s most compelling artists from around the world as well as modern masters. In addition to traveling exhibitions and its world-renowned collection, the Walker presents a broad array of contemporary music, dance, design, and theater, and the best in film and moving image arts. For more information, visit walkerart.org.
About the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
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.