"Parts of Some Sextets," Yvonne Rainer’s 1965 performance for ten people and twelve mattresses, represents a turning point in the American choreographer’s oeuvre. “My mattress monster,” as Rainer calls it, was built in her formative years with the experimental downtown New York group Judson Dance Theater. In this work, she asserted her exploration of “ordinary” actions as well as her disregard for narrative constructions to create an intricate choreography that unfolded with a new scene every thirty seconds. More than half a century after its premiere, Rainer, in collaboration with choreographer and dancer Emily Coates, directed the 2019 revival of the piece as a Performa Commission for the Performa 19 Biennial in New York, grappling with the changing contexts of a new presentation of her radical performance.
"Remembering a Dance: Parts of Some Sextets, 1965/2019" delves into every aspect of this dance, from its original manifestation to its reconstitution. This book, designed by visual artist Nick Mauss, includes previously unpublished archival images and documents from the 1965 stagings at the Judson Memorial Church in New York and the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. Texts by Emily Coates, RoseLee Goldberg, Jill Johnston, Kathy Noble, Yvonne Rainer, David Thomson, Lynne Tillman, and Soyoung Yoon, as well as a new interview with Rainer, pose questions about the trajectories of artworks, performers, and audiences, all while tracing the life—and afterlife—of a dance.