Green-Wood Announces New Commission by Acclaimed Artist Janine Antoni

What does the body know that the mind doesn’t? How does the spirit move us?

This September, Green-Wood invites you to explore these questions in a very personal way. In the historic setting of the Cemetery’s Catacombs, artist Janine Antoni will present her newest installation, I am fertile ground. For nearly three decades, she has used the body, most often her own, as a tool to produce her sculptural, photographic, and performative work. I am fertile ground continues and expands on this theme in her practice, connecting Antoni’s study of emotionally resonate gestures with artworks inspired by religious icons. Each object on display pays reverence to a gesture Antoni has amplified through her body and that of others, rendering the body as both exalted and fragile.

Built in the 1850s, the Catacombs – one of the Cemetery’s oldest structures – is an underground building containing thirty burial vaults and a long central hallway.

Harry J. Weil, Green-Wood’s Director of Public Programs and Special Projects, and curator of I am fertile ground, said, “For nearly thirty years, Antoni has been exploring the value of loss, whether it is creating objects that wash away or are eaten as in Lick and Lather, or the ghostlike impression of her body in Saddle. I am fertile ground doesn’t tether itself to the absence often associated with loss, but rather the potential for reflection and revelation.”

Among the programs scheduled is an outdoor screening of Spirit Labour, a film featuring Antoni, choreographer Anna Halprin, and writer Hélène Cixous. Directed by Hugo Glendinning and Adrian Heathfield, the film asks: “what kind of labor is it, to work communally with the bodies, movements, expressions, and affects of others, to dedicate one’s lifework to the othering that issues from these relations? How might we think of these labors and affinities as forms of infrastructure?”

Additionally, Peter Fodera will guide 5Rhythms® movement meditation classes and workshops focused on awakening and listening to the body’s inner wisdom and the stories that are locked within. The 5Rhythms® is a dynamic movement practice that ignites creativity, connection, and community.

The project is generously supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts