Feelings Are Facts: A Life

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Overview

"In this memoir, dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer traces her personal and artistic coming of age. Feelings Are Facts (the title comes from a dictum by Rainer's one-time psychotherapist) uses diary entries, letters, program notes, excerpts from film scripts, snapshots, and film-frame enlargements to present a vivid portrait of an extraordinary artist and woman in postwar America." "Rainer tells of a California childhood in which she was farmed out by her parents to foster families and orphanages, of sexual and intellectual initiations in San Francisco and Berkeley, and of artistic discoveries and accomplishments in the New York City dance world. Rainer studied with Martha Graham (and heard Graham declare, "when you accept yourself as a woman, you will have turn-out" - that is, achieve proper ballet position) and Merce Cunningham in the late 1950s and early 1960s, cofounded the Judson Dance Theater in 1962 (dancing with Trisha Brown, Steve Paxton, David Gordon, and Lucinda Childs), hobnobbed with New York artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Morris (her lover and partner for several years), and Yoko Ono, and became involved with feminist and anti-war causes in the 1970s and 1980s. Rainer writes about how she constructed her dances - including The Mind Is a Muscle and its famous section, Trio A, as well as the recent After Many a Summer Dies the Swan - and about turning from dance to film and back to dance. And she writes about meeting her longtime partner Martha Gever, and discovering the pleasures of domestic life." The mosaic-like construction of Feelings Are Facts recalls the composition-by-juxtaposition of Rainer's work in film and dance, and displays prismatic variations from what she calls her "reckless past" for our amazement and appreciation.
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Editorial Reviews

John Rockwell
Ms. Rainer was such a riveting presence, and her ideas were so intense and dazzling, that her personality couldn't help manifesting itself, right below and even above the cool, formalist surface. It was exciting to see it emerge, and emerge it does, too, from the pages of this compulsively readable book.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
A transformative career in dance and the development of an experimental artist are examined in choreographer, dancer and filmmaker Rainer's engrossing memoir. Organized by concepts, such as her burgeoning sexuality and her cultural memories, rather than by strict chronology, the structure makes a difficult childhood seem even more unmoored and the dizzying parade of men she slept with more kaleidoscopic. Rainer doesn't have many kind words for anyone in her early years and is equally hard on herself. A ferocious intelligence combined with years of psychotherapy have made her intensely self-aware, and Rainer exposes her flaws, acknowledging potential objections to her behavior and character. Rainer's position at the epicenter of postmodernism in dance in the early '60s is illuminated through descriptions and photographs of working and playing with fellow Judson Dance Theater pioneers such as Trisha Brown and Steve Paxton, as well as artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol. Particularly fascinating are her descriptions of her intentions in creating certain dances and the struggle between directing dancers and allowing improvisation to color the work. The explorations of the Judson crew, including Rainer, continue to influence contemporary dance, and Rainer's chronicle of her journey as an artist is a winning addition to the literature about this groundbreaking era. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
"Another hope I have for this book is that it will offer d tente between the confrontational and absolutist pronouncements and questions of my youth and the more measured perceptions of my imminent old age" With this statement, choreographer/dancer/filmmaker Rainer articulates the thesis for her intimate memoir told through diary entries, letters, program notes, snapshots, and more. Rainer studied with Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham, cofounded the Judson Dance Theater in 1962, and danced with Trisha Brown, among others. In a matter-of-fact style, she explores the various relationships of her life, analyzes herself and the artistic process, and examines her experimental work in dance (e.g., The Mind Is a Muscle) as well as the milieu of the early Sixties (Robert Rauschenberg, Yoko Ono, and Andy Warhol all make appearances). This unique view of the creative environment and portrait of the artist as a young woman is recommended for academic libraries with film and dance collections.-Barbara Kundanis, Geneva P.L., IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"In a matter-of-fact style, she explores the various relationships of her life,
analyzes herself and the artistic process, and examines her experimental work in dance (e.g., The
Mind Is a Muscle) as well as the milieu of the early Sixties (Robert Rauschenberg, Yoko Ono, and
Andy Warhol all make appearances). This unique view of the creative environment and portrait of the artist as a young woman is recommended..." Library Journal

The MIT Press

"Particularly fascinating are her descriptions of her intentions in creating certain dances and the struggle between directing dancers and allowing improvisation to color the work. The explorations of the Judson crew, including Rainer, continue to influence contemporary dance, and
Rainer's chronicle of her journey as an artist is a winning addition to the literature about this groundbreaking era." Publishers Weekly

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262182515
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/12/1999
  • Series: Writing Art
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Yvonne Rainer is a dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker.
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