You Can’t Make Art by Making Art
Douglas Dunn has been dancing and making dances for 43 years. His company embraces collaborations with visual artists to offer a multifaceted theatrical experience. In particular, Dunn’s work with artist David Ireland captured a generosity of spirit and mutual respect and trust for each other’s work. Dunn said of their collaboration, “David articulates space in a sculptural way; I articulate it with movement. These two approaches interact. His spaces suggest things dancers might do . . . he helps you be yourself.”
Presented in conjunction with David Ireland, on view in the Walter and McBean Galleries through March 26.
In her 2004 book Touching Time and Space: A Portrait of David Ireland, Betty Klausner writes of the Ireland-Dunn collaboration: “Two artists from different disciplines, though sharing common ideas and attitudes, seem to have the best chance for a sympathetic collaboration . . . they totally trusted and encouraged each other.” Ireland and Dunn worked together on several evening-length pieces, starting in 1986 with Dances for Men Women and Moving Door, which premiered at Marymount Manhattan and was later performed at the Beaubourg in Paris. Their collaborations also traveled to Australia, where Dance for a Past Time was performed at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art. In the United States, Ireland and Dunn presented evenings at La Mama Theater, New York, and at venues in Minneapolis, Portland, and Washington, D.C.
Dunn is renowned as a teacher of technique and open structures, with a long tenure at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Awards include a Guggenheim, a Bessie, and Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Douglas produces salons at his studio in SoHo and is a board member emeritus of Danspace Project/St. Mark's Church. In 2012, his collected writings were published under the title Dancer Out of Sight.
Douglas Dunn, Stucco Moon, 1994, Photo by Johan Elbers