Jasper Johns speaks with David Vaughan and Elliot Caplan for Cage/Cunningham (Motion picture)Additional title: Cage/Cunningham (Motion picture)
NamesMerce Cunningham Dance Company (Associated name)Johns, Jasper, 1930- (Interviewee)Caplan, Elliot (Interviewer)Vaughan, David, 1924- (Interviewer)
Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials
Dates / OriginDate Created: 1989 (Questionable)
Library locationsRodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded SoundShelf locator: *LTC-A 1466
TopicsAfrika, 1966-Cage, JohnCunningham, MerceDuchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968Johns, Jasper, 1930-Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008 -- MinutiaeFoundation for Contemporary Performance ArtsMerce Cunningham Dance CompanyCage/Cunningham (Motion picture)Antic meet (Choreographic work : Cunningham)August pace (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Canfield (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Exchange (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Four walls (Choreographic work : Cunningham)RainForest (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Rune (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Summerspace (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Walkaround time (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Dance in motion pictures, television, etcGroup work in art
NotesContent: Jasper Johns is interviewed by David Vaughan and Elliot Caplan for Caplan's film Cage/Cunningham; several speakers in streaming file 3 are unidentified and may be dancers from the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.Content: Title, date, speakers and location provided by cataloger based on audition, and handwritten notes on original containers and cassettes.Content: Handwritten note on original container and cassette no. 1: "David Vaughan with Jasper Johns for Cage/Cunningham ; 1- 95-98 Jasper". Handwritten note on original container and cassette no. 2: "2. Jasper Johns cont'd ; 2. From 99-100 Jasper". Handwritten note on original container and cassette no. 3: "3. Jasper Johns cont'd ; 3. From 101-103 Jasper".Venue: Probably originally recorded at Jasper Johns's studio in, [Stony Point, New York], [1989?].Original version: Based on sounds of tape winding throught, likely dubbed from original open audio reels.Acquisition: Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.Citation/reference: Forms part of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection.
Physical DescriptionAudiocassetteExtent: 4 streaming audio files (159 minutes total) : digital, stereoSound quality is fair to poor; the speakers voices are at times inaudible due to significant audio distortion, recording "hiss", and there are background noises throughout due to the original recordings taking place outdoors.
DescriptionStreaming file 1, cassette no. 1, part 1: Begins abruptly; Jasper Johns speaks with David Vaughan and [probably Elliot Caplan] about meeting John Cage; [ca. 1:40, background noise is reduced from recording]; Johns continues to speak about meeting Cage; they speak about Johns's first experiences assisting Robert Rauschenberg with the set and costume construction for Merce Cunningham's Antic meet (1958), Summerspace (1958), and Rune (1959); Johns speaks about the playful and inventive ways in which Rauschenberg and himself approached working with Cunningham and Cage; [ca. 15:48, recording break]; Johns speaks about why he doesn't like working in a theater setting; briefly, staying with Cunningham and Cage during the rare occasions he joined the [Merce Cunningham Dance] Company on tour; Vaughan asks Johns if he was aware of the performance "happenings" that were taking place during the late 1950s and Johns speaks about some of the works he saw; Johns speaks about his primary interest in Cunningham's dance works rather than having an interest in the field of dance as a whole; they speak about Johns co-producing a Cunningham Company performance in 1960, as well as his role in co-producing the 25 year retrospective Cage concert [Town Hall, 1958]; Johns speaks about the forming of the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts in 1963 with Cage, Rauschenberg, and other visual artists, to help support Cunningham, and, later, other performing artists; the social aspects of the performing arts and the devotion he feels towards Cunningham's works; more about the social and personal contact he had with Cunningham and Cage, especially their conversations on the artistic process; he speaks about Cage's wide-ranging interests and how this impacted him creatively; his reaction to some of the criticisms of Cage and Cunningham's works during the period he worked with them; briefly, the artists who supported his own work in the early years; briefly, his admiration of and professional relationship with Marcel Duchamp; they speak about the personality differences between Cunningham and Cage; Johns speaks about Cunningham as a dancer and lists the specific works in which Cunningham's performances stand out to him; they speak briefly about the transition period when Johns took over from Rauschenberg as the Company's Artistic Advisor; ends abruptly.Streaming file 2, cassette no. 1, part 2: Begins abruptly; Jasper Johns continues to speak with David Vaughan and [probably Elliot Caplan] about the transition period in which he became the [Merce Cunningham Dance] Company's Artistic Advisor; briefly, his first project as Artistic Advisor working with Frank Stella on [Scramble (1967)]; he speaks about working with Andy Warhol on the design elements for RainForest (1968), including Warhol's idea for the dancers to perform naked; [brief recording gap]; they speak about an original idea from Bob [Robert] Morris for the dancers to be naked and covered in oil for Canfield (1969); Johns speaks about the origins of the design ideas for Walkaround time (1968), including Cage playing chess with Duchamp, as well as Duchamp's wish that the set pieces be organized to form his Large glass at some point during the performance; more about the stage design elements of Walkaround time, especially finding ways to ship these for touring; an anecdote about Duchamp in relation to the curtain call following the premiere of Walkaround time in Buffalo, New York; ends abruptly.Streaming file 3, cassette no. 2: [Conversation continues during a meal with Jasper Johns, David Vaughan, Elliot Caplan, and other unidentified speakers, ca. 0:00-33:29]; ca. 5:39, Jasper Johns and David Vaughan speak about how Merce Cunningham's premiere performance of Four walls (1944) in Steamboat Springs, Colorado was only partially filmed; Elliot Caplan speaks about the earliest complete work that was filmed: Story (1963); they continue to speak about films of Cunningham's early works, including Septet (1953), and reasons that Cunningham didn't want to film works in his early period; Caplan speaks more about why Cunningham disliked some dance on camera, especially the earlier ways that dance was filmed; Johns[?] speaks about seeing the filmed version of José Limón's Moor's pavane (1949); Vaughan speaks about a staging of George Balanchine's works for camera; [ca. 15:26-15:30, recording gap]; they speak about upcoming performances of the Company in London, including Cunningham's new works Cargo X (1989) and August pace (1989); more about the set and costumes for August pace by Afrika; they speak about Cunningham works that they wish to be filmed or reconstructed for film; they speak about the current dancers in the Company and Carolyn Brown's opinion of the current Company as compared with the past; they continue to speak about the professionalization of the current Company; Johns speaks briefly about works that he remembers fondly including Crises (1960); Caplan speaks about Cage's wish to see Johns more frequently; [ca. 33:30, recording break]; ca. 33:35, Johns continues to speak with Vaughan about his costumes for Exchange (1978), including the jacket he designed for Cunningham's solo that was not used in performances, as well as the backdrop; his artistic process that incorporates "mistakes"; his emotional response to Cunningham's work and ways in which he approached artistic collaboration with Cunningham; they speak about the shift in recent years of Cunningham's focus on his role as choreographer rather than as a dancer; ends abruptly.Streaming file 4, cassette no. 3: Begins abruptly; Jasper Johns continues to speak with David Vaughan and [probably Elliot Caplan] about Merce Cunningham's more recent choreography being impacted by his stepping out of the work as a performer; Johns comments on the traits of the current [Merce Cunningham Dance] Company; [ca. 2:08, brief recording break]; [Caplan] asks a question about how Johns thinks while viewing Cunningham's works; Johns speaks about how he doesn't have an opinion about the music and sound aspect of Cunningham's works; he comments briefly about listening to the radio or sometimes music while he paints; in response to [Caplan's] question, Johns speaks about the reasons that audiences may not like the accompaniment to Cunningham's works; [ca. 10:48, brief recording break]; Johns speaks about attending performances of other choreographers and dance companies, including Trisha Brown and Karole Armitage; his devotion to Cunningham's work; in reference to Johns's time collaborating with Cunningham and Cage, they speak about how living in proximity and traveling together influences creative collaboration between artists; Vaughan tells an anecdote about Cunningham doing a pantomime of putting on his make-up and mentions Cunningham's study of theater while at Cornish College of the Arts; Johns speaks about his encounters with the Buckminster Fuller and mentions his painting Map (1967) [based on Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Airocean World projection]; they speak about changes over the years in how the public recognizes and supports Cunningham's works; Johns speaks about his wish that there had been more support for Cunningham in the past; [ca. 30:15, brief recording gap]; they continue to briefly speak about the uniqueness of Cunningham's works; Vaughan speaks about the period of financial challenge that Cunningham faced; they speak briefly about Cunningham's work ethic and dedication to dance; [Caplan] briefly mentions an idea given to him by Teeny [Alexina Duchamp] for the film; Vaughan speaks about Johns's Field painting (1964) as relating to the title of Cunningham's Field dances (1963); ends abruptly.
Type of ResourceSound recording
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 933596400NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20868104Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 2ed65580-b951-0133-a84f-3c07547a230f
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