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White Gray Black

Janine Antoni (Bahamian, born 1964)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

American sculptor, performance artist, installation artist and photographer. After studying in New York at the Sarah Lawrence College, she went to the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, where she graduated with an MFA in 1989. Her first major work, Wean (1989–90; see 1995 exh. cat., pp. 6–7), consists of plaster impressions of one of the artist’s breasts and nipples alongside impressions of latex nipples and their packaging. The themes of the absent body and the oral focus in the formation of identity are central to much of Antoni’s work. In one of her best-known works, Gnaw (1992; London, Saatchi Gal.), she chewed lumps out of two large cubes, one consisting of 600 pounds of chocolate and the other of 600 pounds of lard. From this she then made chocolate boxes in the shape of hearts from the chocolate and bright red lipsticks from the lard. The finished artworks come from the process of her private performance with the material, so that the work is focused upon the experience of the event, rather than on a final object. In an unusually public performance, Loving Care, staged at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London, in 1993, Antoni dipped her hair in hair dye and mopped the floor with it, in a gesture reminiscent of Nam June Paik’s 1962 Zen for Head performance; by loading the action with connotations of femininity and domesticity, she twisted the heritage of performance art to her own ends. Later she made a series of Cibachrome photographs of her parents, for example Mom and Dad (1994; see 1995 exh. cat., pp. 33–9), in which she dressed them up in each other’s clothes and applied make-up to their faces so that their identities were interchanged.

Catherine M. Grant
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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