Deborah Jowitt on Jill Johnston

1960s: Days of Rage

Al Giese’s contact sheet of Jill Johnson and Robert Morris, New York, March 3, 1965.

“Jill Johnston was one of my most influential teachers, but I never told her that. In 1959, she began to write a radical, erudite, slangy column called Dance Journal for the Village Voice, four years after it was founded by Ed Fancher, Dan Wolf, and Norman Mailer. She embarked on a career as a critic at a time when, in her words, ‘the entire art world was entering a convulsion of dissolving boundaries.’ Happenings and other interdisciplinary events erupted onto the scene. The zeitgeist of the 1960s was one of rebellion. The question that permeated the air was, ‘Why not?’ When exuberant and fearless choreographers such as Yvonne Rainer, David Gordon, and Trisha Brown came together in 1962 to present their work at Judson Memorial Church, they redefined what dance could be. Robert Rauschenberg…

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