Event to explore collaborative work of Paul Taylor and Robert Rauschenberg

Paul Taylor and Bettie de Jong(in the foreground)  in a performance of “Party Mix” in 1966.
Paul Taylor and Bettie de Jong (in the foreground) in a performance of “Party Mix” in 1966.

The ways in which artist Robert Rauschenberg and choreographer Paul Taylor were influenced by each other’s artistry will be explored in a talk by art historian Robert Mattison at the Yale University Art Gallery on Feb. 7.

The event, which will begin at 4 p.m., will also feature a performance of two of Taylor’s early works by members of Taylor 2, a professional ensemble of the Paul Taylor Dance Company that focuses on the choreographer’s early works.

Paul Taylor and Elizabeth Walton dancing in “Tracer” in 1963.
Paul Taylor and Elizabeth Walton dance in Taylor’s 1962 piece “Tracer.” The wheel and costumes were designed by Robert Rauschenberg. Photo courtesy of Paul Taylor Dance Foundation.

Mattison, a scholar of Rauschenberg and the Marshall R. Metzgar Professor of Art History at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, will discuss “Dancing Through History: Paul Taylor, Robert Rauschenberg and the Creation of ‘Tracer.’” “Tracer,” one of Taylor’s earliest works, featured sets and costumes by Rauschenberg, who was a scenic and costume designer for Taylor during the period 1954 to 1962. Mattison will explore how the collaborative experimental exercises of the two artists ultimately culminated in a clearly defined and unique style of movement vocabulary and framed the late 20th-century indigenous art form of American modern dance.

Among Mattison’s books and extended catalogs are “Robert Rauschenberg: Breaking Boundaries,” published by Yale University Press in 2004.

This semester, students are reconstructing another of Taylor’s earliest dances, “Party Mix,” in collaboration with Taylor 2 dancers as a project of the Yale Dance Theater, directed by Emily Coates ’06, ’11 GRD. Their project will culminate in a public dance performance on April 14. Mattison’s talk is offered by the Yale Dance Theater in collaboration with the Yale University Art Gallery as part of this year’s project.

Arts & Humanities

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