Project Room


Janine Antoni,
Stephen Petronio:
Honey Baby

Press Release

Locust Projects presents Honey Baby, 2013, an immersive video installation created by New York-based multidisciplinary artist Janine Antoni and renowned choreographer Stephen Petronio. Inspired by motion in utero, the video captures a folding and tumbling body suspended in a honey filled environment. The fourteen-minute video brings its subject incrementally closer until a collapse of space presses the viewer up against the body. The sound of the video is interpretation of what the baby would hear in utero. Honey Baby reveals a uniquely sensual relationship between subject and host. 

Viscous golden honey coats the nude male body, referencing amniotic fluid. In a mesmerizing expression of slow transformation, the body glides and revolves. The viewer’s gradually increasing physical intimacy with the body invites reflection on notions of birth, embodiment, movement, and eroticism.

Blurring the lines between their respective fields and roles of sculptor, performer, and choreographer, the artists collaborated on all aspects of the project. Together, they designed the environment in which the performer writhes, creating a link between the body and its container and simultaneously drawing the viewer into the womb. Cinematographer Kirsten Johnson worked with the artists to create the final video, using unconventional camera angles to create a feeling of weightlessness. Composer Tom Laurie created audio meant to echo the sounds a developing infant may hear in utero. Originally exhibited as part of Antoni’s 2013 exhibition Within at Mattress Factory, Honey Baby is the artists’ first collaboration in video. The work continues themes explored in their first stage work collaboration, Like Lazarus Did, 2013, in which the final dance, Trevor, was inspired by shapes found in sonograms. Both works are performed by Nicholas Sciscione, a member of the Stephen Petronio Dance Company.

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

ANTONI | PETRONIO COLLABORATIONS

Antoni and Petronio’s first collaboration, Like Lazarus Did in 2013 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. 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. Antoni and Petronio also produced Ally (2016) at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, and the exhibition, Entangle (2017), at the Tang Museum at Skidmore, which brought together a series of these past works transformed specifically for the Museum.

JANINE ANTONI

Janine Antoni was born in Freeport, Bahamas. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and earned her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1989. Antoni is known for her unusual processes, using her body as both a tool and a source of meaning within the conceptual framework of her practice. Antoni’s early methods involved transforming unique materials such as chocolate and soap through habitual, everyday processes like bathing, eating and sleeping to create sculptural works and installations. By way of her body of work, Antoni carefully articulates her relationship to the world, giving rise to emotional states that are felt in and through the senses. In each piece, no matter the medium or image, a conveyed physicality is meant to speak directly to the viewer’s body.

Her work shows nationally and internationally. Antoni has exhibited at numerous major institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; The Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; The Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland; Magazsin 3 Handelshögskolan, Stockholm, Sweden; Haywood Gallery, London, UK; and Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany. She has also been represented in several international biennials and festivals such as the Whitney Biennial, New York, NY; Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy; Johannesburg Biennale, Johannesburg, South Africa; Gwangju Biennial, Gwangju, South Korea; Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey; S.I.T.E. Santa Fe Biennial, Santa Fe, NM; Project 1 Biennial, New Orleans, LA; Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, India; and documenta14, at the Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany. In 2016, Antoni collaborated with Anna Halprin and Stephen Petronio on Ally, an exhibition presented by The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, with major support from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. In 2019, Antoni collaborated again with Halprin, presenting a major solo exhibition, Paper Dance, at The Contemporary Austin, Texas. Most recently, Antoni was the subject of a solo show at The Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, for which she was commissioned to present a new body of work, I am fertile ground in the cemetery’s catacombs.

Antoni is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Irish Museum of Modern Art/Glen Dimplex Artist Award in 1996, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in 1998, the Joan Mitchell Painting and Sculpture Award 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 Creative Capital Artist Grant in 2012, and Anonymous Was A Woman Grant in 2014. View full cv here.  Antoni currently resides in New York and is represented by Luhring Augustine Gallery, NY,  and Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco. 

STEPHEN PETRONIO

Stephen Petronio is a choreographer, dancer, and the Artistic Director of the Stephen Petronio Company. For over 35 years, Stephen 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 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. He continues to create a haven for dancers with a keen interest in the history of contemporary movement and an appetite for the unknown. Petronio was born in Newark, New Jersey, and received a B.A. 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). He has gone on to build a unique career, receiving 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, a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award, and a 2015 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award.

Petronio has created over 35 works for his company and has been commissioned by some of the world’s most prestigious modern and ballet companies, including William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt (1987), Deutsche Oper Berlin (1992), Lyon Opera Ballet (1994), Maggio Danza Florence (1996), Sydney Dance Company (2003, full evening), Norrdans (2006), the Washington Ballet (2007), The Scottish Ballet (2007), and two works for National Dance Company Wales (2010 and 2013). Over his career, Petronio has collaborated with a wide range of artists in many disciplines. Collaborators include some of the most talented and provocative artists in the world: composers Valgeir Sigurðsson, Nico Muhly, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, and Peter Gordon; visual artists Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman, Anish Kapoor, Donald Baechler, and Janine Antoni; fashion designers Narciso Rodriguez, John Bartlett, Benjamin Cho, and Leigh Bowery.

Petronio, whose training originated with leading figures of the Judson era, performed Man Walking Down the Side of a Building in 2010 for Trisha Brown Company at the Whitney Museum, and performed his 2012 rendition of Steve Paxton’s Intravenous Lecture (1970) in New York, Portland, and at the TEDMED-2012 conference at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, DC. Petronio received the distinction of being named the first Artist-in-Residence at The Joyce Theater from 2012 to 2014. He has been entangled with visual artist Janine Antoni in a number of discipline-blurring projects, including the video installation Honey Baby (2013), created in collaboration with composer Tom Laurie and filmmaker Kirsten Johnson, and most recently Ally, in collaboration with Anna Halprin and Adrian Heathfield, which premiered at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia in summer of 2016. Petronio and Antoni were the 2017 McCormack Artists in Residence at Skidmore college, where they showed their series of installations, Entangle. Most recently, he was commissioned by The Juilliard School to set a work, #PrayerForNow, on their fourth year students for the New Dances Edition 2019. Petronio’s memoir, Confessions of a Motion Addict, is available at Amazon.com.

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