New York’s Museum of Modern Art won’t display the early work of choreographer Ted Shawn — so Adam H. Weinert is doing it for them. Surprise! MoMa just got a permanent unauthorised exhibition that displays performances inside the museum through an augmented reality app.
Weinert explains that while Shawn gave his works to MoMA, the museum gave them away. So his piece is a tribute to Shawn, however belated:
Shawn made a gift of his works to MoMA in the 1940’s, but the museum later gave away these materials to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Weinert contends that if he had been considered an “Artist” they would not have been able to do so. MoMA’s own policies are such that they do not sell or give away works by living artists and Shawn was living at the time of his deaccession.
Now choreography isn’t something you can so easily show off in a museum environment. But Weinert has found a way to make it work, using an app on your smartphone or tablet. Download the Dance-Tech Augmented Reality app for iOS or Android, and open it up when you enter the museum.
When you walk through the halls of the place, certain structural features like a stairwell or a sign — things that are permanent — will tip the app to start playing Shawn’s choreography, as performed by Weinert. You can see all the directions on Weinert’s new site, The Reaccession of Ted Shawn, which just launched this morning.
MoMA has no idea this is happening. Who knows what its reaction will be. I chatted with Weinert earlier this week, and he said he had proposed this project to MoMa earlier this year, but it had turned it down. So he took matters into his own hands. Visit MoMa, and visit his site, to check it out. [The Reaccession of Ted Shawn]