Ally at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia

From 21 April 21 to 31 July 2016, The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) premieres Ally, an exhibition of art and dance conceived and performed by artist Janine Antoni in collaboration with choreographer Stephen Petronio and movement artist Anna Halprin.

“Taking the form of performances, installation environments, videos, and sculptures, Ally will occupy four floors of our contemporary art museum in Center City,” notes Susan Lubowsky Talbott, interim executive director.

“I conceived of this project more than six years ago as a kind of retrospective of my art making, told through dance,” says Janine Antoni. “It has evolved into a truly collaborative creation that allows us to find a way to continue making new work while looking back.”

The exhibition comprises four projects:

Rope Dance, an improvised performance work instigated by Halprin, who presented a rope to Antoni and Petronio to be used as a tool to connect their bodies and draw lines through space. The concept has been expanded to include the participation of audience members and, when the performance is not taking place, a wall-sized projection of Halprin watching the process of a dance coming into form. (Performance, monthly, and installation, first floor)

Swallow, a complex installation project that began with Antoni and Petronio making a unique performance in which they each swallowed half of a 10-foot strip of cloth. In the installation, the recovered remnant is housed in a spot-lit, elevated reliquary. Audio speakers suspended over conversation chairs allow visitors to listen to different “testimonies” from the only ten “witnesses” to the live act of swallowing. Across the room, visitors encounter a simple glass vitrine containing another piece of cloth, upon which is printed the only photograph of the swallowing ritual. This relic is slowly decomposing. (Installation, second floor)

The Courtesan and the Crone, a work in which, wearing a shimmery gold robe, Venetian mask, and pair of women’s pumps, Petronio performs a dance of seduction originally created by Halprin as a solo for herself. At its completion, Petronio hooks his golden robe to a rope attached to a red theater curtain. As the curtain descends, the costume rises. (Performance, monthly, and installation, seventh floor)

Paper Dance, an improvised movement performance performed by Antoni once a week for 14 weeks. Drawing on images and concerns that have long preoccupied her as an artist, Antoni uses rolls of brown paper, originally employed by Halprin in her seminal work Parades and Changes (1965). The performances take place within an installed arena of many wooden packing crates containing artworks by Antoni. Each iteration calls for Antoni to begin by unpacking one of her earlier works from a crate. A “retrospective” of Antoni’s previous works slowly emerges, with chosen works appearing, remaining for a week, then disappearing as they are re-packed. When the performances are not taking place, a film of Halprin’s Parades and Changes is screened. The paper remnants of Antoni’s performances slowly accumulate over the course of the exhibition. (Performance, weekly, and installation, eighth floor)



The Fabric Workshop and Museum – 1214 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 USA
21 April – 31 July 2016