Yvonne Rainer's Work 1961–73

December 2020

A big black-and-white book, first published in 1973 and prettily reissued by Primary Information, Work 1961–73 collects screenplays, photographs, flyers, and essays, which comprise an odd monument to thirteen years of scrupulous, self-inflicted, paradoxically rebellious discipline that took the form, for Yvonne Rainer, of dances and films. Devotees will find much to relish: Loaded with documentation and reflections, the book gives a sinuous and often funny account of the first stirrings of Judson Dance Theater, breathing life into an avant-garde now hardened into history. But it’s also a tour of Rainer’s sensibility and idiosyncratic ethics—the bite of her peculiarity, the wry swivel of her apperceptions, her assaults on and irrepressible affection for the very category of “dance.” Politics streams through, inflecting this early work but never driving it along; young Rainer is

— Tobi Haslett

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