From the exhibition Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done, running at the Museum of Modern Art through February 3: Peter Moore’s photograph of (from left) Robert Rauschenberg, Joseph Schlichter (hidden), Sally Gross, Tony Holder, Deborah Hay, Yvonne Rainer, Alex Hay, Robert Morris (behind), and Lucinda Childs performing Rainer’s “We Shall Run,” 1963. Performed at Two Evenings of Dances by Yvonne Rainer, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, March 7, 1965. © Barbara Moore/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.
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By Chris Dohse
Copyright 2002, 2017 Chris Dohse
NEW YORK — Lucinda Childs inhabits the immaculate geometry of Sol LeWitt’s 1979 film “Dance” like an angel dancing on the head of a pin. Her iconic, impassive figure looms over the intervening decades, a postmodern totem, merged eternally with LeWitt’s rectilinear decor (black grid on white floor cloth) and Philip Glass’s mesmerizing score. For the Kitchen’s 30th anniversary, in a program seen Saturday night, Childs also ghosts herself, dancing live behind the scrim upon which LeWitt’s film is projected. Her repetitive skips, steps and small jetés done in the now — in straight lines and around the circumference of a circle — correspond nonchalantly with her filmed cadences and parabolas. The performance is a technical marvel, a monument to a certain period of art history, a minimal, relentless arithmetic. Yet stripped as it is to an autistic, tireless austerity, Childs’s delicate presence is haunting and inescapable. She becomes more than a universal human figure, inexhaustibly functioning in relationship to its surrounding space. After a time, you notice her frailty — that one of her arms seems to rotate more freely than the other, the mudra-like shapes her hands often form, her shy, averted gaze and her ironclad chill. She embodies the ‘space-bewitched’ creature once hypothesized by Oskar Schlemmer.
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