The Libraries’ Spring Exhibit, Gestures of Life: Martha Graham’s Legacy Through the Lens of Barbara Morgan will open on May 10 in the Langson Library. The exhibit will highlight the legacy of renowned choreographer Martha Graham (1894-1991) through rarely seen photographs taken by the distinguished photographer Barbara Brooks Morgan (1900-1992) that were recently acquired by the UCI Libraries.
Martha Graham performs in “Every Soul is a Circus,” 1939
Recognized as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century for her creative influence across the arts disciplines and for founding a method of training that fostered the continuing evolution of American modern dance, Graham’s art is anchored in the belief that movement reveals inner emotion: the passions, the conflicts, the relentless needs that we recognize but hesitate to acknowledge. Of the more than 181 works she created, many remain “classics” because they stand the test of time in their ability to synthesize the dissonance of modern times and distill the complexities of life. Graham and photographer Morgan met in 1935, and their subsequent collaboration resulted in iconic images that captured the ephemeral moment of performance and rendered it as three-dimensional art. Graham wrote, “To me, Barbara Morgan through her art reveals the inner landscape that is a dancer’s world.”
Bonnie Oda Homsey will curate the exhibit and give a talk titled “Simple Gifts from Martha Graham” at the opening event. Homsey is the director of the American Repertory Dance Company in Los Angeles and a MFA graduate in dance at UCI. She was a principal dancer during the 1970s with the Martha Graham Company, where she originated roles and toured internationally. Since 1997 she has taught the Graham Technique for the UCI Dance Department.
The exhibition was inspired by a highly competitive grant to Homsey and UCI Dance Department by the National College Choreography Initiative. The grant enabled a first-ever restaging by UCI student dancers in February 2004 of the 1936 dance piece “Steps in the Street,” one of Graham’s early works that represents the radical nature of her early all-women era.
The opening event is free and open to the public. Please call (949) 824-4651 for further information.