Surprising Collaborations: Whitney + Met and Ailey + Taylorhttp://www.thirteen.org/sundayarts/blog/museums/surprising-collaborations%E2%80%94whitney-met-ailey-taylor/1292/
Two news items were announced last week that seemed to signal a fresh want and need for collaboration between major cultural institutions. In 2015, the Met Museumwill take over for eight years the Whitney‘s home on Madison Avenue, designed by Marcel Breuer. Many battles have been fought over expanding that handsome granite monolith, but now that the Whitney plans for a May 24th groundbreaking in the meatpacking district near the Highline, it can devote its energy to moving into a much larger headquarters, leaving (at least temporarily) the Breuer building and the numerous landmark squabbles.
A collaboration like this among museums is very unusual, but this deal’s fate may be traced in some karmic way back to Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, who considered donating her American collection to the Met, but instead founded the Whitney. The institution long ago outgrew the Breuer building, which will be used by the Met for exhibitions and support programs.
But the most surprising repertory addition is Paul Taylor’s Arden Court, marking—at 81—Taylor’s company debut. In a way, it’s bittersweet, since Taylor was born a year earlier than Ailey, who passed away in 1989. Taylor continues to expand his life’s work by reliably choreographing two works a year, whereas Ailey’s static oeuvre must continually be combed through to choose hardy revival material, and outside choreographers selected to complement Ailey’s legacy while challenging its superb dancers.
Perhaps this could’ve been seen in the proverbial crystal ball, since Battle can roughly trace his choreographic heritage to Taylor. Taylor hired David Parsons as a dancer, who founded a company and hired Robert Battle, who danced, began choreographing, and ran his own successful troupe for a number of years before AAADT hired him. He choreographs with his own unique voice, but there are still movement roots and impetus’ that share some DNA with Taylor. Another fascinating chapter in the evolution of modern dance in NYC.
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