September 3, 2008

Choreographer Merce Cunningham to Create Site-Specific ‘Event’ at Historic Ford Assembly Plant in Richmond, CA, Part of Company’s Two- Week 2008 Residency at Cal Performances


Contact: Christina Kellogg of Cal Performances, +1-510-643-6714, [email protected]

BERKELEY, Calif., Sept. 3, /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new, site- specific work titled 'Craneway Event' by dance legend Merce Cunningham will be performed at the landmark former Ford assembly plant in Richmond, CA -- rechristened Ford Point -- Sunday, November 9 at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. Additionally, award-winning visual artist Tacita Dean will use the occasion to make a film scheduled to be completed by April 2009, when Cunningham celebrates his 90th birthday. Dean's work in multimedia has been exhibited around the world, including at the Guggenheim and Tate Modern museums. She will film alongside Cunningham and his company during the rehearsal process in the days preceding the performance. This will be the second collaboration between Cunningham and Dean, but the first time the 14-member Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC) has been involved in a film by Dean.


Craneway Event is part of the MCDC's two-week residency at Cal Performances, University of California, Berkeley, November 7-16, 2008. Four distinct programs will be presented over two weekends, and Cal Performances will use the MCDC's visit to engage some of the most creative minds at UC Berkeley in a series of colloquia, films, performances and other public events.

A video of Cunningham and Cal Performances' Director Robert Cole visiting Ford Point can be seen at presents/season/2008/dance/mcdc.php. Click on "Learn More!"

Craneway Event will be performed in a hangar-like space where cranes raised cars from the assembly line to the adjacent railway. Ford Point was designed by renowned industrial architect Albert Kahn and was entered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. The 517,000-square foot 1930s building was the site of Jeep and tank production during WWII, and with hundreds of windows installed to bring natural light to the assembly floor, boasts breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay. Eddie Orton, President of Orton Development Company of Emeryville, acquired the property in 2004 (from the Richmond Redevelopment Agency, which previously had bought the property from the University of California in 1975). A mixed-use industrial, business, conference and residential development, Ford Point's tenants include RR Donnelley, Title IX, and SunPower, producer of the highest efficiency solar technology in the world. The building is adjacent to the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park.

Like recent Events that Cunningham has created for spaces such as Dia:Beacon in Beacon, New York, and London's Tate Modern, the work will be choreographed on multiple stages specifically for the environment. "It was an extraordinary layering of events I knew of old, things of which I had no memory and things that revealed themselves in new ways," wrote Alastair Macaulay in The New York Times of the July 8, 2008 Dia:Beacon event.

Merce Cunningham is widely regarded as the greatest living choreographer. He has worked extensively in film, video and contemporary technology. In 1997, he began to work in motion capture to develop the decor for BIPED, which was co-commissioned by Cal Performances and received its world premiere in Berkeley in April 1999.

Tacita Dean was trained as a painter and now works in a variety of media. She is best known for her compelling 16mm films, often haunted by architectural relics that seem to embody bankrupt beliefs, but at their time of execution promised much. In 2006, she won the Hugo Boss Award, given by the Guggenheim Museum to recognize an artist whose recent body of work represents a major achievement or significant development in contemporary art.

Tickets for Merce Cunningham Dance Company's Craneway Event, Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. at Ford Point, 1414 Harbour Way S., Richmond, California, are $40.00, and available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at http://; and at the door.

SOURCE Cal Performances

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