Exhibitions/ Art Object

Lick and Lather

Janine Antoni (American, born Freeport, Bahamas, 1964)
Chocolate and soap
Head I: 24 × 13 in. (61 × 33 cm) Head II: 16 × 13 in. (40.6 × 33 cm) Base: 45 × 13 in. (114.3 × 33 cm)
Credit Line:
Collection of Jill and Peter Kraus
Rights and Reproduction:
© Janine Antoni, courtesy the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York
Not on view
These two self-portrait busts have changed and will continue to change over time. One is made of soap, the other chocolate. After fashioning the sculptures, Antoni licked the chocolate version and bathed with the version in soap, eroding her features. As she once said, "There’s this element of destruction, that we have to kind of unmake in order to make, and that interests me very much." Owing to their materials, the works will age at an accelerated rate. Here, the artist challenges the conventions of the classical portrait bust, premised as it is upon immortality and permanence, not to mention the heroism and authority of the white men such busts typically portray.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible," March 18–September 4, 2016.