Press Release

Museum Presents Janine Antoni & Stephen Petronio: Entangle

Event Date: 
28 January 2017
Saratoga Springs, NY
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Artists will be in residence at Skidmore College as the 2016-17 McCormack Endowed Visiting Artist-Scholars 

The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College and the Office of the Dean of Special Programs are pleased to announce the 2016-17 McCormack Endowed Visiting Artist-Scholars Residency, featuring the exhibition Janine Antoni & Stephen Petronio: Entangle.

This exhibition 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 Antoni and Petronio 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.

“The Tang explores how media and ideas intersect, so it’s inspiring to work with Janine and Stephen who make collaboration central to their practice,” said Ian Berry, the Tang Museum’s Dayton Director and curator of Entangle. “It’s particularly exciting to have them join us as guest artist-scholars, weaving their work throughout the teaching activities on campus.”

Antoni and Petronio, who emerged from the worlds of visual art and dance respectively, will be on campus from March 1 to 4 and April 3 to 7 to engage with students, faculty, and the public. Public talks will be 5:30 p.m. March 2 and 7 p.m. April 6, both at the Tang Teaching Museum.

Rope Dance: January 28 – March 19

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: April 6 – April 30

On the Table is an invitation to come together. The gallery is at once a set and a dining 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: May 13 – July 16

Honey Baby is an immersive experience created by Antoni and Petronio. The spectator reclines on the horizontal plane to view the video above, confounding their 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.

About the collaboration

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. 

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Janine Antoni and Stephen Petronio; Courtesy of the artists and Luhring Augustine, New York

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