Taking its name from the Judson Memorial Church, a socially engaged Protestant congregation in New York's Greenwich Village, Judson Dance Theater was organized as a series of open workshops from which its participants developed performances. Redefining the kinds of movement that could count as dance, the Judson participants—Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, Philip Corner, Bill Dixon, Judith Dunn, David Gordon, Alex Hay, Deborah Hay, Fred Herko, Robert Morris, Steve Paxton, Rudy Perez, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Rauschenberg, Carolee Schneemann and Elaine Summers, among others—would go on to profoundly shape all fields of art in the second half of the 20th century. They employed new compositional methods to strip dance of its theatrical conventions, incorporating "ordinary" movements—gestures typical of the street or home, for example, rather than a stage—into their work, along with games, simple tasks, and social dances to infuse their pieces with a sense of spontaneity.
Published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done highlights the workshop's ongoing significance. The catalog charts the development of Judson, beginning with the workshops and classes led by Anna Halprin, Robert Ellis Dunn and James Waring, and exploring the influence of other figures working downtown such as Simone Forti and Andy Warhol, as well as venues for collective action like Judson Gallery and the Living Theatre. Lushly illustrated with film stills, photographic documentation, reproductions of sculptural objects, scores, music, poetry, architectural drawings and archival material, the publication celebrates the group's multidisciplinary and collaborative ethos as well as the range of its participants.
Giampaolo Bianconi is Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Media and Performance Art at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Harry C.H. Choi is a former Intern in the Department of Media and Performance Art at MoMA.
Vivan A. Crockett is the 2017-18 Andrew W. Mellon Museum Research Consortium Fellow in the Department of Media and Performance Art at MoMA.
Danielle Goldman is Associate Professor of Critical Dance Studies and Dance Program Director at the New School, and the author of I Want to Be Ready: Improvised Dance as a Practice of Freedom (2010).
Elizabeth Gollnick was the 2016-17 Andrew W. Mellon Museum Research Consortium Fellow in the Department of Media and Performance Art at MoMA.
Adrian Heathfield is Professor of Performance and Visual Culture at the University of Roehampton, London. His books include Out of Now (2009) and the edited collections Perform, Repeat, Record (2012), Live: Art and Performance (2004), and Small Acts (2000). Heathfield is an active curator.
Ana Janevski is Curator in the Department of Media and Performance Art at MoMA.
Martha Joseph is Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Media and Performance Art at MoMA.
Thomas J. Lax is Associate Curator in the Department of Media and Performance Art at MoMA.
Victor "Viv" Liu was a Season Intern in the Department of Media and Performance Art at MoMA.
Jenny Harris is Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA.
Sharon Hayes is an artist based in New York. Her performance, video and installation works have been shown at institutions around the world.
Malik Gaines is Assistant Professor of Performance Studies at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and the author of Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left: A History of the Impossible (2017). Since 2000, Gaines has performed and exhibited with collaborators as the group My Barbarian.
Benjamin Piekut is Associate Professor in the Department of Music at Cornell University. His books projects include Experimentalism Otherwise: The New York Avant-Garde and Its Limits (2011) and The World Is A Problem: Henry Cow and the Vernacular Avant-Garde (forthcoming).
Kristen Poor is a PhD Candidate at Princeton University. Previously, she was Assistant Curator at Dia Art Foundation and 2014-15 Andrew W. Mellon Museum Research Consortium Fellow in the Department of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Julia Robinson is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at New York University. She is the editor of the October Files volume John Cage (2011) and the author of a forthcoming book on George Brecht.
Gloria Sutton is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History at Northeastern University and Research Affiliate in the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology. Her book projects include The Experience Machine: Stan VanDerBeek's Movie-Drome and Expanded Cinema (2015) and Pattern Recognition: Durational Conditions of Contemporary Art.