Halprin, the inventor of task-based improvisation, taught an experimental workshop on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais, north of San Francisco, attended by Simone Forti and Yvonne Rainer. Within two years, Forti’s conceptually forceful dance constructions premiered in Yoko Ono’s loft in New York and Rainer co-founded the groundbreaking Judson Dance Theater. Radical Bodiesexamines the artistic relationships between Halprin, Forti, and Rainer, shedding light on each artist’s contribution to history. Dance was a conceptual engine of the art world in the 1960s. Halprin, Forti, and Rainer, all Californians with Jewish roots, opened the way to a radicalized, communitarian vision for performance that continues to influence choreographers and visual artists around the world to the present day.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether or not you go, the accompanying book Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, and Yvonne Rainer in California and New York, 1955-1972 reunites Halprin, Forti, and Rainer for the first time in more than fifty-five years.
Dance was a fundamental part of the art world in the 1960s, the most volatile decade in American art, offering a radical image of bodily presence in a moment of revolutionary change. Halprin, Forti, and Rainer—all with Jewish roots—found themselves at the epicenter of this upheaval. Each, in her own tenacious, humorous, and critical way, created a radicalized vision for dance, dance making, and, ultimately, for music and the visual arts. Placing the body and performance at the center of debate, each developed corporeal languages and methodologies that continue to influence choreographers and visual artists around the world to the present day, enabling a critical practice that reinserts social and political issues into postmodern dance and art.