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Day 4, Janine Antoni

March 10, 2011

On day 4 of our pick we choose Janine Antoni, a Bahamas born artist who pushes the boundaries between art and performance.  She was featured on PBS Art 21 in 2003 and has exhibited at  the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, just to name a few.  In 1998 she received the revered MacArthur Fellowship and the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Inc. Painting and Sculpture Grant.

Antoni  challenges her audience  to question femininity, sexuality, and consumption, using her body as the medium for performance.  She has painted murals with her eyelashes, mopped the floor with her hair soaked in dye, dipped her body into tubs of lard, and gnawed at thousand pound cubes of chocolate during her performances.

Antoni succeeds at pushing the limits of the everyday ritual to a level where the viewer may feel unease.  In her recent work Conduit, Antoni explores her life long fascination with gargoyles, by casting them into a device which she can urinate through while standing against the Chrysler Building.  In an interview with Art in America, Antoni says,

“I chose to sculpt a griffin gargoyle, which is a hybrid—a mythical composite of different animals. It occurred to me that to use my invented apparatus was to make myself into a hybrid, because as a woman my anatomy doesn’t enable me to pee standing up.”

In her work Lick and Lather,  Antoni cast traditional portrait busts of herself using chocolate and soap.  She repeatedly licked her cast chocolate busts until her facial features faded and bathed with her soap portrait heads, essentially washing away herself with her self.  During “Slumber”, Antoni made the gallery her bedroom, where she recorded her brainwave signals on an electroencephalograph as she slept and wove the patterns into a blanket the following morning.


Lick & Lather 1993

Lick & Lather 1993


Slumber 1993

Slumber 1993

Conduit 2009

Conduit 2009

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