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MA Student Stages Interactive, Under-the-Radar Installation at MoMA

Guerrilla installation poses questions about art, performance, and the the uses of technology

Sep 11, 2014

Gallatin MA student Adam Weinert

“The Reaccession of Ted Shawn,” on view at the Museum of Modern Art

“Art and activism are natural allies,” says dancer, choreographer, media artist, and Gallatin MA student Adam Weinert. Weinert, who studied dance at the School of American Ballet, Vassar, and Julliard before joining Gallatin, put his social and aesthetic theories into practice this summer by staging his Gallatin thesis project, “The Reaccession of Ted Shawn” at the Museum of Modern Art.

Shawn was a pioneering modernist choreographer who donated films of his works to the museum in the 1940s, and the museum officially deaccessioned, or removed, the works, from their holdings in the 1960s. In 2013, Weinert was invited to reconstruct and perform the early solos of Shawn at the museum as part of the exhibit “20 Dancers of the XXth Century.” Weinert’s performances of Shawn’s work were recorded. To stage his thesis, he used a mobile app, the Dance-Tech Augmented Reality app, which recognizes specific areas and landmarks within the museum and activates video of Weinert’s performances and archival footage on viewer’s smartphones or tablets. The installation began on August 5, 2014, and will be on view indefinitely.

“I wanted to upset some conventionally held beliefs about art,” Weinert says, “by turning an ethereal art form, dance, into an installation, and to point out ways in which the museum is malleable.”