"Signals from the West: Bay Area Artists in Conversation with Merce Cunningham at 100" was a bicoastal collaboration with the Merce Cunningham Trust, ODC Theater and SFMOMA’s Open Space as part of the international celebration of the Cunningham centennial. "Signals from the West" commissioned ten Bay Area artists from diverse disciplines and backgrounds to participate in a residency August 12-23, 2019 with former Cunningham dancers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener and create new works of art in response to this experience. These commissioned works will premiere, alongside excerpts of Cunningham repertory performed by Bay Area dancers selected through a workshop with Mitchell and Riener, at ODC Theater November 8 & 9, 2019. SFMOMA’s Open Space commissioned an online series in conjunction with the program.
To foreground difference, the project’s co-curators commissioned artists who represent a diversity of disciplines, perspectives, and ways of working and intentionally did not select anyone who has ever worked directly with the Cunningham company. The ten Bay Area commissioned artists were:
"Signals from the West “encourages a critical, probing engagement with Cunningham, one befitting the artist’s own restless disposition"
—Sam Lefebvre, “Merce Cunningham Artist Residency Celebrates, Challenges Dance Luminary,” KQED Arts
"The initiative promises not only premieres, but also searching conversation as to what dance — this most ephemeral and physically vulnerable of arts — has to offer as its connecting essence during disconnected times…. a fresh encounter with Cunningham’s legacy"
Signals from the West: Bay Area Artists in Conversation with Merce at 100 is a program of HMD’s Bridge Project and is made possible by the Merce Cunningham Trust, ODC Theater, SFMOMA’s Open Space, National Endowment for the Arts, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, San Francisco’s Grants for the Arts, the Walter & Elise Haas Foundation, the Zellerbach Family Foundation, the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, and generous individual donors.
The Merce Cunningham Centennial Community Program is supported by a generous grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Merce Cunningham Centennial and its programs are generously supported with major funding from the Merce Cunningham Trust, the Paul L. Wattis Foundation, the American Express Foundation and Judith Pisar.