Published Jul 27, 2009Merce Cunningham, the famed U.S. choreographer who collaborated with such artists as John Cage, Radiohead and Sigur Rós, has died. He was 90.
Cunningham passed away Sunday night (July 27) in his Manhattan home. He died "peacefully" and of natural causes, according to a statement from the Cunningham Dance Foundation and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
The choreographer formed the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 1953 and, during his career, choreographed more than 200 dances and 800 choreographic works, including many with collaborator and life partner John Cage, as well as a collaboration with Radiohead and Sigur Rós in 2003 called Split Sides. Cunningham also made headlines in the rock world last year when he enlisted Sonic Youth, Takehisa Kosugi and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones to perform in a piece in honour of his 90th birthday.
According to the statement, "[Cunningham] revolutionised the visual and performing arts, not for the sake of iconoclasm, but for the beauty and wonder that lay in exploring new possibilities."
Judith Fishman, chairman of the Cunningham Dance Foundation, added: "Merce was an artistic maverick and the gentlest of geniuses.
"We have lost a great man and a great artist, but we celebrate his extraordinary life, his art, and the dancers and the artists with whom he worked."