Janine Antoni & Stephen Petronio: Entangle presents three works that combine action, video, and installation. Rope Dance, On the Table, and Honey Baby explore a range of ongoing multidisciplinary collaborations, which the artists began more than three years ago, setting out to blur the lines between artist, dancer, choreographer, and audience. Each offering has one element in common—a wooden floor—that frames different activities understood through the body.
Antoni and Petronio, who emerged from the worlds of visual art and dance respectively, will be in residence at Skidmore College as the 2016-17 Don and Judy McCormack Endowed Visiting Artist-Scholars. The artists will visit campus from March 1 to 4 and April 3 to 7 to engage with students, faculty, and the public. Public talks will be at 5:30 pm March 2 and 7 pm April 6, both at the Tang Teaching Museum.
Rope Dance is an interactive experience created by legendary movement artist Anna Halprin, with Antoni and Petronio. In this dance, a rope is used as a tool to both connect moving bodies and articulate the space between them. Several times during the exhibition the artist will facilitate a group experience employing the rope as originally activated by Halprin.
Antoni and Petronio respond to their experience of Rope Dance in an installation that explores heightened physical awareness and absence. Upon entering, one is confronted with a large but ghostlike image of an elderly lady watching something. On closer inspection one can peer through the screen to a chair spotlit on an empty dance floor. Exploring the periphery of the space, one encounters a rope disappearing behind a black curtain. Following that rope, viewers find themselves in darkness with only the rope to lead them. They eventually come to the dance floor with the single chair, where they can sit and experience a rendition of the dance performed by Antoni and Petronio captured in the moving expression on the face of its creator, Halprin.
On the Table is an invitation to come together. The gallery is at once a set and a dinning room, featuring a tablecloth woven out of 200 neckties. Twelve ties extend out from the table allowing them to be worn while eating and talking, literally connecting the guests at the table with the fabric web of the tablecloth. Throughout a single month, the Tang will host four dinners at the table in the gallery space, each with a different topic of conversation. Tom Yoshikami, Museum Educator for College and Public Programs, will organize this series of dinners with students, based on issues they feel are important. The artists will be on campus to visit with classes and participate in the first dinner from April 3 – 7. Between dinners, the installation will be offered to the community as a tool for dialogue. Gallery goers will be encouraged to invite guests of their choice, at times they determine, to have the exchanges they desire at the table. They and their guests will be offered the opportunity to set the lighting most conducive for the conversation they intend to have.
Honey Baby is an immersive experience created by Antoni and Petronio. The spectator reclines on the horizontal plane to view the video above, confounding our notion of the body’s relation to gravity. The video, inspired by motion in utero, captures a folding and tumbling male body suspended in a honey-filled environment. Viscous liquid dripping down a body in developmental transformation reveals a uniquely sensual relationship between subject and host. The fourteen-minute video brings you incrementally closer, until a collapse of space presses the viewer up against the body.
Like Lazarus Did (2013) was the first collaboration between Antoni and Petronio. The final dance of this work, Trevor, was drawn from sonograms of a child developing in utero. This stage work, which was performed by Nick Sciscione, a member of Petronio's dance company, was the starting point for Honey Baby. Sciscione will appear at the Tang periodically over the course of the exhibition to perform Trevor live in the space.
Antoni and Petronio's first collaboration in 2013 also included a living set made by Antoni, which she performed in while hanging above the audience. The video Honey Baby was commissioned in 2013 by the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvainia. The artists came back together at the Joyce Theater for Stripped (2014), a solo dance by Petronio with a costumed intervention made by Antoni. In 2015 they made a series of work for Test Site, in Austin, Texas. Most recently, Halprin joined them to produce Ally (2016) at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Entangle brings a series of these past works, transformed specifically for the Tang Museum. The artists will work with Skidmore students from several departments to explore creativity and collaboration using the work they show at the Tang Museum as a point of departure.
Janine Antoni was born in Freeport, Bahamas, in 1964. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and earned her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1989. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at numerous institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; The Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Haywood Gallery, London; and Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany. She has also been represented in international biennials including the Whitney Biennial; Venice Biennale; Johannesburg Biennial; Kwangju Biennial, South Korea; Istanbul Biennial; S.I.T.E. Santa Fe Biennial; Project 1 Biennial, New Orleans; and Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India.
Antoni is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the IMMA Glen Dimplex Artists Award in 1996, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in 1998, the New Media Award, ICA Boston in 1999, the Larry Aldrich Foundation Award in 1999, an Artes Mundi, Wales International Visual Art Prize nomination in 2004, The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2011, a 2012 Creative Capital Artist Grant, Anonymous Was A Woman Grant in 2014, and A Project Grant from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage to collaborate with choreographers Anna Halprin and Stephen Petronio at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia for the 2016 exhibition Ally.
Stephen Petronio was born in Newark, New Jersey, and received a BA from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he began his early training in improvisation and dance technique. He was greatly influenced by working with Steve Paxton and was the first male dancer of the Trisha Brown Dance Company (1979 to 1986). For 30 years, Petronio has honed a unique language of movement that speaks to the intuitive and complex possibilities of the body informed by its shifting cultural context. He has received numerous accolades, including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, an American Choreographer Award, and a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award. He has collaborated with a wide range of artists in many disciplines over his career and holds the integration of multiple forms as fundamental to his creative drive and vision.
Petronio is a leading contemporary dance-maker. New music, visual art, and fashion combine in his dances, producing modern landscapes for the senses. He has built a body of work with some of the most talented and provocative artists in the world, including composers Clams Casino, Atticus Ross, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Nico Muhly, Fischerspooner, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Son Lux, James Lavelle, Michael Nyman, Sheila Chandra, Diamanda Galás, Andy Teirstein, Wire, Peter Gordon, Lenny Pickett, and David Linton; visual artists Janine Antoni, Cindy Sherman, Anish Kapoor, Donald Baechler, Stephen Hannock, Tal Yarden, Arnaldo Ferrara, and Justin Terzi III; fashion designers Narciso Rodriguez, John Bartlett, Jillian Lewis, Adam Kimmel, Benjamin Cho, Michael Angel, Tony Cohen, Rachel Roy, Tara Subkoff, Tanya Sarne/Ghost, Leigh Bowery, Paul Compitus, Manolo, Yonson Pak, and H. Petal; and Resident Lighting Designer Ken Tabachnick.
Founded in 1984, Stephen Petronio Company has performed in 26 countries, including over 40 New York City engagements with 21 seasons at The Joyce Theater. The Company has been commissioned by Dance Umbrella Festival, London; Hebbel Theater, Berlin; Scène Nationale de Sceaux, Festival d’Automne à Paris, CNDC Angers, France; The Holland Festival; Festival Montpellier Danse; Danceworks UK Ltd; Festival de Danse de Cannes; and in the U.S. by San Francisco Performances, The Joyce Theater, UCSB Arts & Lectures, Wexner Center for the Arts, Walker Art Center, and White Bird, among others.