UPCOMING

Paper Dance  in collaboration with Anna Halprin at The Contemporary Austin  January 26 - May 5, 2019

Paper Dance in collaboration with Anna Halprin at The Contemporary Austin

January 26 - May 5, 2019

 

Paper Dance is both a retrospective spanning thirty years of work by the New York–based artist Janine Antoni (Bahamian, born 1964 in Freeport, Grand Bahama) and a solo dance performance developed in collaboration with pioneering dancer and choreographer Anna Halprin (American, born 1920 in Wilmette, Illinois). On view on the second floor of the Jones Center, The Contemporary Austin’s downtown venue, Paper Dance consists of a wooden dance floor and thirty-nine crates containing thirty-eight works of Antoni’s sculpture and photography from 1989 to the present. During the exhibition, Antoni will present a series of performances within the gallery. Throughout each performance the artist will reposition and uncrate artworks so that the space changes and evolves over time, highlighting three exhibition cycles that address major themes of Antoni’s work: absence, motherhood, and identity.1

If the framework for the Paper Dance performance is a shifting arrangement of Antoni’s sculpture and photographs, the constant is Antoni herself, moving throughout the installation with a long roll of brown paper. Antoni wraps, tangles, and rolls her body, alternately clothed and nude, in and out of the paper’s sculptural folds as she responds to her past works in the present moment. Each performance is an opportunity to see the artist address the sculptural language she has developed throughout her career. In her words, Paper Dance takes Antoni’s studio process and makes it visible: “I am performing the act of making, and the audience witnesses my thinking in space.”2

Paper Dance has a rich and evolving history, both for Antoni and the presence of dance within contemporary art. Created in 2013, Antoni first performed Paper Dance publicly in 2016, as part of her larger exhibition Ally at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. Developed by performance scholar and curator Adrian Heathfield, the exhibition featured collaborative projects between Antoni, Halprin, and dancer-choreographer Stephen Petronio. Twenty-one performances of Paper Dance gradually formed a “slow-time retrospective” of Antoni’s career.3

A similar series of movements unfolding over time will activate The Contemporary Austin’s exhibition. In this iteration of Paper Dance, the behind-the-scenes logistics of packing and unpacking, installing and de-installing artwork by the artist and art handlers is an integral, public, and performative component of the exhibition. Over the course of fifteen unique dance performances, Antoni will reveal a selection of artworks that remain on view in three separate exhibition cycles. Each cycle highlights an overarching theme that has arisen throughout Antoni’s career. 

Early iterations of Paper Dance took place between 2013 and 2015, with Antoni performing multiple times on Halprin’s legendary Mountain Home Studio Dance Deck in Kentfield, California, located outdoors against a sublime backdrop of sky and trees.4 Since the early 1950s, the deck has hosted generations of dancers and choreographers, such as Trisha Brown, Merce Cunningham, Simone Forti, and Yvonne Rainer.5 In one of their first interactions on the deck, Halprin handed Antoni a long roll of brown paper and said, “You might consider taking off your clothes.”6 Halprin gave Antoni the simple constraints of a prop and a space to move within; Antoni’s task was to render it personally meaningful. 

The score of Paper Dance has its roots in a groundbreaking theatrical work of Halprin’s: Parades and Changes. First performed in Sweden in September 1965 (by dancers including Halprin, her two daughters Daria and Rana, A.A. Leath, John Graham, and others), this evolving series of interchangeable, scored scenes often features dancers in business suits enacting the everyday task of dressing and undressing. While never performed exactly the same way—dancers are instructed on what to do, not how to do it—one key, defining score of the piece includes the dancers’ nude bodies interacting with brown paper. In this score, electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick’s audio arrangement of electronic sound and mid-1960s pop songs plays while the sound of the paper, rustling and crumpling, fills the space. The intentional incorporation of nudity in Parades and Changes—a revolutionary moment in the history of modern dance—caused little fanfare in Europe, but when Halprin brought it to New York in 1967, the work caused an uproar. Revivals of the classic work have since been performed dozens of times, including most recently at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2008); REDCAT, Los Angeles (2009); Performa, New York (2009); and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California, Berkeley (2013). As an acknowledgement of this history and artistic lineage, an extract of a filmed recording of Parades and Changes (the 1965 performance in Sweden) is incorporated into the Paper Dance exhibition. 

While perhaps best-known as a sculptor, over the last thirty years, Antoni has created a wide range of work that consistently utilizes elements of dance and performance. The artist notes, “I have been exploring the line between performance, object, and relic in order to see how the emphasis on one or the other changes its reading. If there is one thing that my past work has focused on, it is how to put the performance of the making into the object.”7 In dialogue with conceptual and feminist art of the 1970s and 1980s, Antoni’s hybrid artistic practice merges the unpredictability and experimental nature of “live art” with the physical materiality of sculpture, photography, and installation, using her body as a primary medium. Both the artist’s sense of self and notions of the female body are inextricable from Antoni’s work: as she has said, “The only thing I know and trust is my own experience.”8

Antoni’s career began in the early 1990s, influenced by feminist critique of the 1980s—such as that of Barbara Kruger, Sherrie Levine, and Cindy Sherman—yet also drawing from the visceral language of 1970s feminist artists who used their bodies in radical ways—including Marina Abramović, Ana Mendieta, Carolee Schneemann, and Hannah Wilke. While these earlier artists were known for their raw physicality and aggression, Antoni establishes a clear departure from them by emphasizing tenderness within her critical rigor. Antoni’s early work is distinctive in that she uses her teeth, tongue, hands, hair, and eyelashes to transform unusual materials like chocolate, hair dye, lard, and soap into new shapes and forms. Typically, the physical object remains as evidence or residue of the performative act of making, as in Gnaw (1992), Lick and Lather (1993), Eureka (1993), or and(1996–1999). Her live performance works include Loving Care (1993), in which the artist mopped the gallery floor with her hair soaked in “Natural Black” Loving Care hair dye, painting the audience out of the room—the gendered labor of mopping the floor an everyday gesture in conversation with the history of Abstract Expressionism. In Slumber(1993), Antoni slept on a bed in a gallery, dreaming while an EEG machine recorded her rapid eye movement. When she awoke, Antoni used pieces of her nightgown to weave her dream pattern into a long blanket. 

Antoni has also created highly composed photographic works that imply performance, such as Tangent (2003) and Conduit (2009). Other works like Caryatid (2003) combine photography and sculpture to reference and undermine perceptions of performance and process. In her video works she also performs for the camera’s perspective, such as in Touch (2002), a video installation filmed on the Bahamian beach outside her childhood home. The artist’s body enters from outside the frame, balancing on a tightrope, which for a moment dips to touch the horizon. Pointing to the process of making and creating as a performative action full of meaning, the artist’s body itself is a tool and a material. 

Antoni’s work is performative at its core, with the body playing an active role in the artist’s sculptures, photographs, and videos over the past thirty years. In this context, Paper Dance is quintessential to her oeuvre, a critique of the tropes of the artist’s retrospective. Considering this exhibition in relation to Halprin’s gift to her of the open score from Parades and Changes, Antoni asks, “If Anna can breathe new life into a work that she made in 1965, why can’t I treat my past work in the same malleable way?”9 As an answer, rather than presenting information about the past as linear, organized, or didactic, Antoni offers us glimpses into her work in ways that are atemporal, nuanced, mutable, and very much still alive.

1 This is the artist’s second collaboration with The Contemporary Austin. In 2015 Antoni was invited to Austin with Stephen Petronio to present Incubator, an exhibition of collaborative and solo video, sculpture, and photography. The project, which also included private performances of On the Table, 2015, was co-sponsored by The Contemporary Austin and testsite, Austin, and exhibited at testsite from May 3 - July 26, 2015.
2 Janine Antoni, phone conversation with Julia V. Hendrickson, October 11, 2018.
3 “Paper Dance,” in Ally, ed. Adrian Heathfield (Philadelphia: The Fabric Workshop and Museum; Munich: Hirmer Publishers, 2017), 35.
4 One of these dances was documented in a 2015 film directed by Hugo Glendinning.
5 Completed in 1954, the dance deck was designed by Anna’s husband, renowned landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, with theater architect and designer Arch Lauterer, as part of Anna and Lawrence’s home. See Janice Ross, Anna Halprin: Experience as Dance(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 79; 103–107.
6 Janine Antoni, in conversation with Julia V. Hendrickson and others, March 8, 2018.
7 Janine Antoni, e-mail correspondence with Julia V. Hendrickson, October 22, 2018.
8 Janine Antoni, quoted in Amy Cappellazzo, “Mother Lode,” Janine Antoni (Küsnacht, Switzerland: Ink Tree Edition, 2000), 102.
9 Janine Antoni, e-mail correspondence with Julia V. Hendrickson, October 9, 2018.

Text written by Julia V. Hendrickson, Associate Curator, The Contemporary Austin.


CURRENT

Umbilical  showing in "The Domestic Plane" at Tbe Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT  May 20, 2018 - March 31, 2019

Umbilical showing in "The Domestic Plane" at Tbe Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT

May 20, 2018 - March 31, 2019

 

PAST 

Moor ( detail from 500+ feet of rope pictured above) and  Touch  showing at Accelerator, Stockholm University  October 30 - November 11, 2018  Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger. Accelerator at Stockholm University.

Moor (detail from 500+ feet of rope pictured above) and Touch showing at Accelerator, Stockholm University

October 30 - November 11, 2018

Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger. Accelerator at Stockholm University.

Questions For My Eventual -  A walk through Green-Wood Cemetery in collaboration with Julianne Swartz, and Hadassa Goldvicht, exploring the relationships between death, hope, and empathy  October 28, 2018

Questions For My Eventual - A walk through Green-Wood Cemetery in collaboration with Julianne Swartz, and Hadassa Goldvicht, exploring the relationships between death, hope, and empathy

October 28, 2018

Cradle  showing in "Topologies" at The Warehouse, Dallas TX

Cradle showing in "Topologies" at The Warehouse, Dallas TX

To Twine  (pictured) and  To Return  showing in "Frankenstein's Birthday Party" at Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco  June 23 - August 11, 2018

To Twine (pictured) and To Return showing in "Frankenstein's Birthday Party" at Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco

June 23 - August 11, 2018

Saddle  showing in "Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body"  The Met Breuer, New York, NY  March 20 - July 22, 2018

Saddle showing in "Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body"

The Met Breuer, New York, NY

March 20 - July 22, 2018

Lick & Lather  showing in "Selves and Others" at SFMOMA  March 24 - September 23, 2018

Lick & Lather showing in "Selves and Others" at SFMOMA

March 24 - September 23, 2018

Lick & Lather  showing in "Look at Me! Portraits and Other Fictions in the La Caixa Collection of Contemporary Art" at The Gas Natural Fenosa Museum of Contemporary Art, A Coruña, Spain  May 10 - September 30, 2018

Lick & Lather showing in "Look at Me! Portraits and Other Fictions in the La Caixa Collection of Contemporary Art" at The Gas Natural Fenosa Museum of Contemporary Art, A Coruña, Spain

May 10 - September 30, 2018

In Terms of Performance   In Terms of Performance an online resource of intersecting essays and interviews from curators, presenters, scholars and artists, including Antoni, reflecting on the relationship between visual art, theater, choreography, and performance art. Co-edited by Paula Marincola of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and Shannon Jackson of UC Berkeley.

In Terms of Performance

In Terms of Performance an online resource of intersecting essays and interviews from curators, presenters, scholars and artists, including Antoni, reflecting on the relationship between visual art, theater, choreography, and performance art. Co-edited by Paula Marincola of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and Shannon Jackson of UC Berkeley.

Sculpture  at Luhring Augustine  March 22 - Apr 14, 2018  An exhibition of sculptural works celebrating a selection of highlights from the gallery’s history presented by Luhring Augustine. Displayed across the gallery’s Chelsea and Bushwick locations, the exhibition includes works by Janine Antoni, Tom Friedman, Roger Hiorns, Phillip King, Martin Kippenberger, Simone Leigh, Glenn Ligon, Jeremy Moon, Reinhard Mucha, Cady Noland, Oscar Tuazon, Tunga, Rachel Whiteread, and Christopher Wool. Presented together, the works generate dialogues amongst objects as well as between individual artists, expanding upon the vocabulary and legacy of contemporary sculpture.

Sculpture at Luhring Augustine

March 22 - Apr 14, 2018

An exhibition of sculptural works celebrating a selection of highlights from the gallery’s history presented by Luhring Augustine. Displayed across the gallery’s Chelsea and Bushwick locations, the exhibition includes works by Janine Antoni, Tom Friedman, Roger Hiorns, Phillip King, Martin Kippenberger, Simone Leigh, Glenn Ligon, Jeremy Moon, Reinhard Mucha, Cady Noland, Oscar Tuazon, Tunga, Rachel Whiteread, and Christopher Wool. Presented together, the works generate dialogues amongst objects as well as between individual artists, expanding upon the vocabulary and legacy of contemporary sculpture.

National Gallery of Art Elson Lecture  Thursday, March 1, 2018 at the National Gallery of Art  A part of the National Gallery of Art Elson Lecture series, Janine Antoni discussed her artistic process, and latest projects at the Gallery in the East Building Auditorium.

National Gallery of Art Elson Lecture

Thursday, March 1, 2018 at the National Gallery of Art

A part of the National Gallery of Art Elson Lecture series, Janine Antoni discussed her artistic process, and latest projects at the Gallery in the East Building Auditorium.

John Wilmerding Symposium:    Bodies of Work    Friday, March 23, 2018, 3:50 PM- 5:00 PM at The National Gallery of Art

John Wilmerding Symposium: Bodies of Work

Friday, March 23, 2018, 3:50 PM- 5:00 PM at The National Gallery of Art

Mary  showing in " Birthing Bodies " at Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY    September 30 - December 30, 2017

Mary showing in "Birthing Bodies" at Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY

September 30 - December 30, 2017

Touch showing in "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

University of Buffalo Art Gallery, The University of Buffalo, NY

September 7, 2017 - January 7, 2018

and

Touch showing in "Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago"

Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA

September 2017 - January 2018

Mom and Dad and Lick and Lather showing in "DOUBLES, DOBROS, PLIEGUES, PARES, TWINS, MITADES"

The Warehouse, Dallas, TX

July 10 - December 31, 2017

Slumber showing in "ANTIDORON - the EMST Collection"

documenta 14, Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany

June 10 - September, 2017

Umbilical  showing in "Material Traces"  Charim Galerie, Vienna, Austria  November 9, 2017 - February 3, 2018

Umbilical showing in "Material Traces"

Charim Galerie, Vienna, Austria

November 9, 2017 - February 3, 2018

Lick and Lather  showing in "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible"  The Met Breuer  March 18 - September 4, 2016

Lick and Lather showing in "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible"

The Met Breuer

March 18 - September 4, 2016

Inhabit  showing in "Invisible Adversaries"  Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Hudson, NY  June 25 - September 18, 2016

Inhabit showing in "Invisible Adversaries"

Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Hudson, NY

June 25 - September 18, 2016

to long  showing in "Identity Revisited"  The Warehouse, Dallas, TX  February 1 - December 2, 2016

to long showing in "Identity Revisited"

The Warehouse, Dallas, TX

February 1 - December 2, 2016

Touch  showing in "Performing the Landscape"  Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Alberta College of Art + Design, Alberta, Canada  September 22 - November 12, 2016

Touch showing in "Performing the Landscape"

Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Alberta College of Art + Design, Alberta, Canada

September 22 - November 12, 2016

Honey Baby  showing at The Art Museum of the University of Nevada, Reno, NV  September 15 - October 22, 2016

Honey Baby showing at The Art Museum of the University of Nevada, Reno, NV

September 15 - October 22, 2016