Questions of Practice: Choreographer Stephen Petronio and Artist Janine Antoni on Performance in a Museum Setting

In conjunction with Ally, a performance-as-exhibition at The Fabric Workshop and Museum that reimagines the traditional retrospective, we asked artist Janine Antoni and choreographer Stephen Petronio to discuss the process of preparing audiences for performances in a museum setting. “It’s really about how the institution and the artist ‘open’ to the public…[It’s] not just opening the door; it’s an invitation into an experience,” Petronio says.

Choreographer Stephen Petronio and artist Janine Antoni on performance in a museum setting. Filmed at The Fabric Workshop and Museum on April 22, 2016.

Supported by the Center, Ally is on view through July 31, 2016. View the performance schedule here.


Janine Antoni creates work in performance art, sculpture, and photography. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, and others. Antoni has participated in the Venice Biennale, Whitney Biennial, and the Johannesburg Biennale, and has received many prestigious awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Creative Capital Artist Grant.

Stephen Petronio has honed a unique language of movement that speaks to the intuitive and complex possibilities of the body, informed by its shifting cultural context. In the past 30 years, Petronio has created over 35 works for his company, and has been commissioned by some of the most prestigious modern and ballet companies around the world. Petronio is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award, and a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award.


Collaborators & Colleagues

Liselle LaFrance is director of Historic Cherry Hill in Albany, New York, a historic house museum with intact collections of 20,000 objects and more, spanning five generations of the Van Renssalaer family.

Curator Ruth Estévez on why the practice of restaging may be both “interesting” and “dangerous.”

The experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans will be illuminated in this multimedia work created by MacArthur Fellow and jazz pianist/composer Vijay Iyer and poet/librettist Mike Ladd, in combination with a publication of local veterans’ writings produced through a partnership with the veteran-focused arts organization Warrior Writers.

Grants & Grantees

Parallel Destinies was a collaborative multidisciplinary dance piece that commemorated the nine Africans enslaved in George Washington’s house during his presidency in Philadelphia.

Grants & Grantees

Wu Peter Tang is a musician and a 2004 Pew Fellow in folk and traditional arts.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Gilbert Vicario is senior curator and division head for curatorial affairs at the Des Moines Art Center, Iowa.

Grants & Grantees

Major Jackson is a poet and a 1995 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Basekamp examined the emergence of plural artistic environments that exist outside of the commercial or institutional mainstream.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Dr. Linda Caruso Haviland, associate professor at Bryn Mawr College, is the founder and director of its dance program as well as the chair of the arts program.

Grants & Grantees

Temple Contemporary commissioned 2006 Pew Fellow and MacArthur Fellow Pepón Osorio to create a new installation that responds to recent closings of Philadelphia public schools.

Questions of Practice

Wooley’s rigorous study and extensive performance of a wide variety of musical scores offers us an expert musical perspective, as well as unique insight, into our questions of (co-)authorship.

Dance scholar Linda Caruso Haviland discusses Forsythe’s curiosity about and drive towards the not-yet-known (the “possibles”) within the dance structure and the dancers.