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Celebrating the Life and Work of Trisha Brown

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Dec 18, 2017
Dec 18, 2017
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Photo © Marc Ginot

Monday, December 18
Segal Theatre
2:00pm Screening+ 6:30pm Panel

FREE + Open to public. First come, first served.

Join us for a day celebrating the life and work of Trisha Brown (1936-2017).

Following the afternoon screenings from the Trisha Brown Archive, curated by Cori Olinghouse, the evening discussion features Art historian Susan Rosenberg, associate artistic director and former Trisha Brown Dance Company member Diane Madden, and former rehearsal director and choreographer Gwen Welliver. Moderated by Frank Hentschker. Susan Rosenberg’s recent publication on the artist, Trisha Brown: Choreography as Visual Art (Wesleyan, 2016) will also be available at the event.

“One of the most acclaimed and influential choreographers and dancers of her time, Trisha Brown’s groundbreaking work forever changed the landscape of art. A student of Anna Halprin, Brown participated in the choreographic composition workshops taught by Robert Dunn–from which Judson Dance Theater was born–greatly contributing to the fervent interdisciplinary creativity that defined 1960s New York. Expanding the physical behaviors that qualified as dance, she discovered the extraordinary in the everyday, and brought tasks, rulegames, natural movement and improvisation into the making of choreography.

With the founding of the Trisha Brown Dance Company in 1970, Brown set off on her own distinctive path of artistic investigation and ceaseless experimentation, which extended for forty years. The creator of over 100 choreographies, six operas, and a graphic artist, whose drawings have earned recognition in numerous museum exhibitions and collections, Brown’s earliest works took impetus from the cityscape of downtown SoHo, where she was a pioneering settler. In the 1970s, as Brown strove to invent an original abstract movement language–one of her singular achievements–it was art galleries, museums and international exhibitions that provided her work its most important presentation context.

Today the Trisha Brown Dance Company continues to perpetuate Brown’s legacy through its ‘Trisha Brown: In Plain Site’ initiative. Through it, the company draws on Brown’s model for reinvigorating her choreography through its re-siting in relation to new contexts that include outdoor sites, and museum settings and collections. The company is also involved in an ongoing process of reconstructing and remounting major works that Brown created for the proscenium stage between 1979 and 2011. In addition, the company continues its work to consolidate Trisha Brown’s artistic legacy through their management of her vast archives of notebooks; correspondence; critical reviews; and an unprecedented moving image catalogue raisonné, which records her meticulous creative process over many decades.”

Text by Susan Rosenberg, 2017.


2:00pm – 5:00pm
Screening from the Trisha Brown Archive, curated by Cori Olinghouse.
Courtesy of Trisha Brown Archive.

Skunk Cabbage, Salt Grass, and Waders (1969)
Choreography: Trisha Brown

Dancing on the Edge
Choreography: Trisha Brown

Set and Reset: Version 1 (1985)
Choreography: Trisha Brown
Videography: James Byrne

Aeros (1990)
Director: Burt Barr
Choreography: Trisha Brown
Visual Presentation: Robert Rauschenberg
Film: Robert Whitman

Panel with dance experts and members of Trisha Brown Dance Company, including Susan Rosenberg, Diane Madden, and Gwen Welliver. Moderated by Frank Hentschker.


Diane Madden, photographed in the Torre Bonomo, Spoleto, in front of Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings. Image © Tim Smyth

Diane Madden (Associate artistic director and former Trisha Brown Dance Company member)
is a performer, choreographer, director and teacher based in NYC. Currently Associate Artistic Director of the Trisha Brown Company, she has contributed to the creation and performance of Trisha Brown’s work since 1980. She performs, teaches and lectures with the company and curates the work for site-specific programs. She presents her own solo and collaborative choreography at home and abroad and has enjoyed working with choreographers Jerome Bel, Lance Gries, Juliette Mapp, Polly Motley, Vicky Shick and Cathy Weis. Madden’s teaching weaves anatomically grounded technique with improvisation, composition and performance skills. Her worldwide students range from dance artist professionals and college students to artists from other disciplines including actors, singers, visual artists and composers. Since 2006, Madden has been greatly influenced by her study and practice of Aikido with Fuminori Onuma. The Princess Grace Foundation has recognized Madden with two awards, in 1986 and again in 1994 for sustained achievement. She also received a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) in 1989. In 2012 NYC’s Movement Research honored her, along with the original cast, for Brown’s Set and Reset (1983) collaboration with Rauschenberg and Laurie Anderson.

Cori Olinghouse (Curator of afternoon screenings, Archive Director) is an interdisciplinary artist, archivist, and curator. Her work has been commissioned by Danspace Project, New York Live Arts, BRIC Arts Media, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Movement Research, and Brooklyn Museum of Art. Recently, she was the recipient of The Award (2015-2016), and a participant in Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Extended Life Dance Development program (2016-2017). Olinghouse danced for the Trisha Brown Dance Company (2002-2006), and has served as the Archive Director since 2009. As founding director of The Portal Project, she is currently developing a series of artist archivist projects that explore the transmission of improvisational performance practices in a space between documentation and embodiment. She serves as guest faculty at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, and has lectured at the Museum of Modern Art, Duke University, Lincoln Center, among other institutions. She is a graduate of the inaugural class in the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University.

Susan Rosenberg (Art historian) is the author of Trisha Brown: Choreography as Visual Art (Wesleyan University Press, 2016). She serves as Consulting Historical Scholar at the Trisha Brown Dance Company and directs the M.A. Program in Museum Administration at St. John’s University, New York, where she is also Associate Professor of Art History. She recently contributed to the French/English exhibition catalog, Minimalismes: 1960s-1980s produced in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Centre Pompidou Pairs; to the French/English anthology Spacecapes: Dance and Drawing; and to the 2013 German/English exhibition catalog, Nancy Graves Projects and Special Friends. Her essays have appeared October and TDR, (published by MIT Press). Dr. Rosenberg has lectured widely on the work of Trisha Brown at international, national conferences and museums, and university departments.

Photo courtesy of the artist

Gwen Welliver (Former rehearsal director and choreographer) is an award-winning dancer/choreographer renowned for her range and depth across formats from performance installation to opera. Welliver is a New York Dance and Performance Bessie Awardee for Sustained Achievement in Dancing with Doug Varone and Dancers. As Rehearsal Director for Trisha Brown, she oversaw company repertory, remounted opera, and directed the revival of seminal works for touring exhibition. Welliver has taught on four continents in universities, conservatories, and festivals. She is now on the School of Dance Faculty at Florida State University. Current engagements include: Martha Graham Dance Company Lamentation Variation commission (2018), NYFA Fellow in Choreography (2013-present), Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Artist in Residence at Center for Performance Research (2017, 2018), and Gibney Dance commission (2018).

About the films:

Skunk Cabbage, Salt Grass, and Waders (1969)
Choreography: Trisha Brown
A film documenting the Festival di Danza Volo Musica Dinamite, which took place June 9-19, 1969 at the Galleria L’Attico in Rome. Performers included Terry Riley; Trisha Brown; La Monte Young and Marian Zazella; Steve Paxton; Deborah Hay; Simone Forti; and David Bradshaw. Yvonne Rainer did not perform but presented material. For this event, we will screen Trisha Brown’s solo performance of Skunk Cabbage, Salt Grass, and Waders (1967).

Dancing on the Edge (1981)
Choreography: Trisha Brown
This collaboration with WGBH and the New Television Workshop includes performances of Opal Loop, Watermotor for Dancer and Camera, and Locus/Altered, and a lecture/demonstration for a Bennington College audience.

Set and Reset: Version 1 (1985)
Choreography: Trisha Brown
Videography: James Byrne
Another collaboration with WGBH, Set and Reset: Version 1 is an in-studio performance of Set and Reset in which the camera becomes an intimate part of the dance.

Aeros (1990)
Director: Burt Barr
Choreography: Trisha Brown
Visual Presentation: Robert Rauschenberg
Film: Robert Whitman
A document of the evolution of Trisha Brown’s choreographic work, Astral Convertible, filmed over a two-year period by her husband, filmmaker and video artist Burt Barr.
(Here is further information on the piece: https://www.eai.org/titles/aeros)

Courtesy of Trisha Brown Archive

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