Merce Cunningham was an American dancer and choreographer. He is highly revered as one of the greatest creative forces of the American dance world. Andy Warhol’s print, Merce Cunningham II 125, along with Merce Cunningham I 124, was published in an effort to raise funds for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, New York. This screenprint is especially unique, given the medium and the unusually downplayed color scheme. The lightness and elegance of Cunningham is represented in this work through Warhol’s ability to create stillness in a pose that elicits motion. This particular print shows Cunningham balancing at an angle, holding a chair to his back. The print is embellished with a somewhat retro floral pattern over the dancer, which completely obscures his facial features.
Merce Cunningham II 125 as Part of Andy Warhol’s Larger Body of Work
Warhol believed that all disciplines of art intersect, including fine art, fashion, film, music and dance. This belief is evident through out Warhol’s body of work as he draws inspiration for his images from all types of areas. In 1968, Warhol collaborated with Cunningham and Jasper Johns in creating a stage performance called Rainforest for which provided the set design. Cunningham never posed for Warhol directly, so Warhol appropriated photographs by Richard Rutledge of the famous choreographer for source images.