Eleanor Antin explored issues of gender, race, and identity by taking on personae of various outsiders in her performance art, installation art, and films. Antin’s first major conceptual art piece in 1968, Blood of a Poet Box, collected 100 glass slides with drops of blood from poets she knew, including John Ashbery and Allen Ginsberg. She followed this with 100 Boots, where rubber boots were photographed on a journey from California to New York (lined up in city streets, wilderness, grocery stores) and the photos turned into postcards that were exhibited at MOMA as a narrative arc, a first in the field. Antin then turned to photographing and filming herself: first a series of nudes during drastic weight loss, then taking on other personae such as a surf king, a soap opera nurse, a black ballerina, Florence Nightingale, and a fictional Polish film director. Through these identities, Antin explored expectations and assumptions she and her audience had of race, gender, and societal roles. Antin was awarded both a Guggenheim and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and has been honored with two retrospectives of her work. She taught at the University of California in San Diego from 1975–2002.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Eleanor Antin." (Viewed on April 15, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/antin-eleanor>.