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U.Va. Art Museum Showcases Collaboration Across Artistic Media In Anastasi / Bradshaw / Cage / Cunningham

January 17, 2005 --

WHO:       U.Va. Art Museum
WHAT:      Exhibit — “Anastasi / Bradshaw / Cage / Cunningham”
WHEN:      Thursday, Jan. 27, through Sunday, March 27   
WHERE:     U.Va. Art Museum
155 Rugby Road, Charlottesville
WHO:        William Anastasi
WHAT:       Slide Lecture
WHEN:       Thursday, Jan. 27, 5:30 p.m.
WHERE:     Campbell Hall, Room
WHO:         Dove Bradshaw
WHAT:       Gallery Talk        
WHEN:       Friday, Jan. 28, 4:30 p.m.
WHERE:     In the museum

In today’s art world, the collaboration of artists and the blending of various media is a common occurrence. In the early years of the second half of the 20th century, artists William Anastasi, Dove Bradshaw, John Cage and Merce Cunningham broke boundaries and embarked on artistic adventures in dance, music and the visual arts. Their explorations brought new perspectives to their own work, and continue to influence artists today.

The University of Virginia Art Museum exhibition, “Anastasi / Bradshaw / Cage / Cunningham,” which opens Thursday, Jan. 27, and runs through Sunday, March 27, centers on the cross-pollination of ideas among Anastasi, Bradshaw, Cage and Cunningham during their years of friendship and professional collaboration. The exhibit includes 77 works spanning from 1950 to 2004, including video, “sound objects,” sculpture, in situ work, drawing, painting, prints, artist’s books and photography.

During the early eighties, Cage served as musical adviser and Anastasi and Bradshaw were appointed artistic advisers to the Cunningham Dance Company. Each artist formulated a personal method of working with chance. This application of chance to artistic works — a particularly American development — is distinguished from similar Dada movement’s forays by its consistent fusion with Eastern thought

Cage’s early and consistent use of “chance operations” proved to be of seminal importance across the board for 20th century artistic practice.  His aesthetic energy was aimed at the formulation of the questions he posed, with the answers left to chance. Included in the exhibition is a wide range of his visual and sound works from the private collections of Anastasi and Bradshaw. 

Likewise, Cunningham embraced chance to assist in his choreography, revolutionizing the medium by his use of dice, the “I Ching” and computer programming.  His original drawings of animals and insects in motion seem to derive from the same impulse as hisapportionment of space in dance.

Anastasi is one of the founders of both Conceptual Art and Minimal Art, indeed before the movements were named. His 1966/1967 “Six Sites” broke the ground for his exhibitions, and soon others began working under the category “Site Specific.” His opinion that Marcel Duchamp proved there is no reason why a blind man cannot be an artist, inspired him to begin his “unsighted drawings” in 1963.

Bradshaw, who championed the idea of indeterminacy by persistently relinquishing control, took Conceptual Art in a sensuous direction. By planning interactions with nature and fusing science with art, she circumvented her intentions. These early impulses have come to be broadly embraced in the Science/Art movement, “weathering” works and the genre lately termed “museum interventions.”  She has said that poetry is evident everywhere and accordingly directs her activity toward the presentation of materials. 

The works in this exhibition share visual and conceptual connections in a variety of media. It is by turns a meditative or raucous celebration, reminiscent of Cage’s “Rolywholyover:  A Circus,” the now famous exhibition designed by Cage himself.

The U.Va. Art Museum exhibit is an extension of the 2001 “Anastasi / Bradshaw / Cage”show that originated in Copenhagen at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde. That exhibit, curated by the museum’s director Marianne Bech and artist Dove Bradshaw, drew unprecedented appreciation from press and public. The U.S. exhibition includes choreographic notations and drawings from Merce Cunningham. In addition to its display at U.Va., the exhibition will travel to the University of California at San Diego in the fall of 2005. The U.Va. Art Museum showing is also curated by Bech and Bradshaw.

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde published a catalogue for the original exhibition. Along with reproductions of each of the artists’ works, it includes interviews with Anastasi and Bradshaw by critic Jacob Lillemose, which give a vivid sense of the dynamic among the three. This American tour, with the addition of Cunningham, brings together the disciplines of dance, music and the visual arts.

The museum is open to the public free of charge Tuesday through Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For details about the exhibit or information about the museum, call (434) 924-3592, or visit the museum Web site:

Contact: Jane Ford, (434) 924-4298

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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