Merce by Merce by Paik

A series of works which has at its centre a video by Charles Atlas, a bespoke artwork for TV by the legendary 20th Century dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham and music by John Cage using urban sounds and voices, including that of Jasper Johns. The series of works unpicks a link between popular culture, urban planning and artistic legacies mixing a chat-show appearance of Merce Cunningham with archival footage of the iconic artist Marcel Duchamp whose work Fountain (1917) turned a urinal into art enacting a primary assault onto what could be considered art. Paik suggests that just as Marcel asks what an art object might be, so Cunningham asks what could be considered as dance

A baby toddles around with text: Is this dance? Footage of New York taxis prompts the narrator to ask:

"Can a fleet of taxis on park avenue be as beautiful as dance of Merce Cunninghams? Is this an icon of today? Television obscures art in life & life in art? A theme favoured by the late Marcel Duchamp who believed a toilet bowl could be art. Can we reverse time and bring back Marcel?"

A collage of the great masters from Cunningham to Cage, Jasper Johns to John Cage, Nam June Paik to Duchamp, Charles Atlas to the influential gallery owner Leo Castelli, this work represents a moment in the New York art world which drew together some of the 20th Centuries most experimental stars.

Single-channel videotape, colour, sound, 28 minutes 45 seconds. Host: Russell Connor. In collaboration with Charles Atlas, Merce Cunningham and Shigeko Kubota

Camera: Bob Harris
Music: John Cage, David Held