Alum Kate Mattingly Reviews Radical Bodies in The Dancer's Group

27 Oct, 2017

Alum Kate Mattingly Reviews Radical Bodies in The Dancer's Group

In her review of Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, and Yvonne Rainer in California and New York, 1955 to 1972, alum Kate Mattingly explores the multiple definitions of "radical." Radical Bodies as a catalogue comprised photographs, drawings, letters, scores, and essays delving into Halprin, Forti, and Rainer's exhibition.

The exhibition appeared at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara (January to April, 2017), then at the Vincent Astor Gallery at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center (May to September, 2017). Mattingly examines the catalogue, other scholars' research such as Dr. Tria Blu Wakpa, and her personal experiences to understand "radical" as outlier and fundamental core. She considers how such books and exhibitions propagate certain reputations when artists are portrayed as "radical," and how archives reproduce and reinforce hierarchies. She writes,

In their essay “Radical Bodies: An Overview,” the curators acknowledge that museums played a legitimating role in Halprin’s, Forti’s, and Rainer’s careers. For example, when the Museum of Modern Art acquired Forti’s Dance Constructions in 2016, they write that this “groundbreaking move” bestowed “on them the value of notable visual art.” In many ways their own exhibition and catalogue grant these artists wider acclaim and appreciation. As an archival object, the catalogue makes it possible to circulate their ideas to broader communities.

Read Mattingly's entire article for the Dancer's Group here.