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.
Her work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden; Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany; Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo, Norway; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; and Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY.
Monographs and publications of Antoni’s work include MOOR published by Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall and SITE Santa Fe; The Girl Made of Butter published by The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT; and JANINE ANTONI published by Ink Tree Edition, Küsnacht, Switzerland. Her most recent monograph, Ally: Janine Antoni, Anna Halprin, Stephen Petronio published by The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA and Hirmer Publishers, presents a series of remarkable artworks instigated by Antoni in her 2016 collaboration with dance-maker and community activist Anna Halprin and choreographer Stephen Petronio. The volume is edited by Adrian Heathfield and designed by David Caines. Stunning photographic documents of the performances and installations (first shown in 2016) are accompanied by critical reflections on the artists' oeuvres by Jacquelynn Baas, Carol Becker and Richard Move, alongside a fragmentary memoir from the prolific author Hélène Cixous navigating aging and loss.
Antoni currently resides in New York City.