Merce Cunningham Trust

Museum Event No. 1 (Events) 1964


PREMIERE DATE June 24, 1964
PREMIERE VENUE Museum des 20 Jahrhunderts
LOCATION Vienna, Austria
MUSIC John Cage Atlas Eclipticalis
DURATION Events ranged from 60 - 90 minutes.
ORGINAL CAST Shareen Blair, Carolyn Brown, Merce Cunningham, William Davies, Viola Farber, Deborah Hay, Barbara Lloyd, Sandra Neels, Steve Paxton, Albert Reid
Merce Cunningham wrote the following note for inclusion in programs for Events: “Presented without intermission, this Event consists of complete dances, excerpts of dances from the repertory, and often new sequences arranged for particular performance and place, with the possibility of several separate activities happening at the same time—to allow not so much [for] an evening of dances as the experience of dance.” An Event is accompanied by music not necessarily associated with those dances, played by company musicians. The format was originally invented to make possible a performance in a non-theatrical space: the first Event, Museum Event No. 1, was performed in the Museum des 20.Jahrhunderts, Vienna, Austria, in June 1964, to the accompaniment of a continuous performance of Atlas Eclipticalis by John Cage. By definition, each Event is unique. Since that time more than 800 Events have been performed in such venues as the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Grand Central Station, the ruins of Persepolis in Iran, and on a beach in Perth, Australia. An Event can last from 60 to 75 minutes. A MinEvent, of 20 to 40 minutes’ duration, can be performed separately in a non-theatrical venue or as part of a repertory program. Events have been performed before such decors as Andy Warhol’s for RainForest or a large painting by Robert Rauschenberg, Immerse that the artist made specifically for such a purpose in 1994. Costumes have been designed by company wardrobe coordinators including James Hall and Anna Finke. MCDC’s final performances were of a 50-minute Event performed six times in the Park Avenue Armory, New York City, in December 2011.