Lucky In Life

Dancing around the bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg, and Duchamp

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Through January 21

By Gabriela Vainsencher





Dancing Around The Bride is a show about friendship. It’s about two moments in every artist’s life. The first is when you look at a piece of art in a museum and suddenly you are able to see through the years, the distances, and the differences between what you do and that piece: you recognize a friend. Sometimes this friend has been dead for centuries, sometimes they live in your town and if you’re lucky and brave enough, you get to the second moment, which is when you meet them.


There is one artist in this show who is not mentioned in its title. Philippe Parreno’s role is described in the museum’s press release as “responsible for… mise-en-scène”. In addition to collaborating with the curators on the artworks’ arrangement and lighting, he made several works that act as facilitators, among them a lighted, speechless marquee at the entrance to the show, bleacher-style seating to sit on while watching the intermittent dance performances in the main room, and discreet screens that open at the back wall to let the Philadelphia light and noise inside. I imagine Parreno (who was born around the time the five artists in this show started their interactions) made his work for “Dancing Around The Bride” as a way of joining in the games of these five friends, whom he did not get to play with in real time.


John, Jasper, Bob, Merce and Marcel were really, really lucky. Go to the PMA before January 21st to see how much fun they had together, how they inspired each other, how much they loved each other’s work and how their friendships pushed their work further. Then go hang out with your friends.



Gabriela Vainsencher is an Argentinian-born Israeli artist who lives and works in Philadelphia and New York. She premiered her latest video Reconstruction at theMusee d’Art Moderne Andre Malraux in Le Havre, France in December 2012 and will be teaching a class called Stories and Pictures this winter at Williams College, in Williamstown, MA.


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