Topless Cellist: The Improbable Life of Charlotte Moorman

Topless Cellist: The Improbable Life of Charlotte Moorman

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By Joan Rothfuss

The Juilliard-trained cellist Charlotte Moorman sat nude behind a cello of carved ice, performed while dangling from helium-filled balloons, and deployed an array of instruments on The Mike Douglas Show that included her cello, a whistle, a cap gun, a gong, and a belch. She did a striptease while playing Bach in Nam June Paik’s Sonata for Adults Only. In the 1960s, Moorman (1933–1991) became famous for her madcap (and often unclothed) performance antics; less famous but more significant is Moorman’s transformative influence on contemporary performance practice--and her dedication to the idea that avant-garde art should reach the widest possible audience. InTopless Cellist, the first book to explore Moorman’s life and work, Joan Rothfuss rediscovers, and recovers, the legacy of an extraordinary American artist.

(hardcover, 448 pages) 

MIT Press, ISBN: 9780262027502