Dance Door

Historical Background

Robert Graham, 1978. 9' x 5'6". Music Center, Grand Avenue (between 1st and Temple)
The late Frederick Weisman, who was one of the nation's most noted art collectors, commissioned this work for installation near his swimming pool at his Beverly Hills home. In 1982, he donated it to the Music Center in commemoration of the Joffrey Ballet's affiliation with the Music Center Group (The Joffrey Ballet left the Music Center Group in 1991). Supervising its installation, Graham related "Dance Door" to nearby structures by aligning it on an axis with "Peace on Earth" on the west and the City Hall on the east.

The work consists of three sections: small fragments of dancing figures appear in relief in the bottom half; larger fragments of dancers in relief in the next quarter; and a cutout frieze of silhouetted dancing figures on the top. Graham incorporated the dance theme in other works of his at the time, including "Dance Columns", which was installed in the UCLA Sculpture Garden in 1978.

"Dance Door," which weighs approximately two tons, was important to Graham's career because it was the largest work he created up to that time. By casting and assembling both the bronze frame and door in his Venice studio, Graham developed the confidence that he could execute large bronze sculptural pieces. He was subsequently commissioned to execute the Olympic Gateway at the Los Angeles Coliseum for the 1984 Olympics and memorials to Duke Ellington in New York, Joe Louis in Detroit, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Washington, D.C.

The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, January 1998.

Back to Los Angeles Civic Center.