Eleanor Antin
Conversations with Stalin

Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

January 17, 2013

Eleanor Antin
Conversations with Stalin

A reading performance in four parts

Ronald Feldman Gallery
31 Mercer Street, New York, New York 10013
T 212 226 3232
F 212 941 1536


Eleanor Antin grew up in the heart of New York in the early days of the Cold War. Her family of first-generation Jewish immigrants was headed by her crazy, bohemian, Stalinist mother, who kept the family in a state of chaos with her desperate attempts to rescue a series of failing hotels in the Catskills, while casting off a boring husband, in her search for culture and meaning in the new world. The dysfunctional family would set the tone of young Elly’s childhood and teen years, fueling her desperate, endearing, and often hilarious quests for art, self, revolution and sex. Through it all, Comrade Stalin remains her imaginary confidant, helping her in his own inimitable way by fucking everything up. And while Elly’s idealist vision of him eventually crumbles, he would also be a loving father figure during a dark time.

Eleanor Antin’s coming-of-age memoir Conversations with Stalin is a smart, no-holds-barred, black comedy in the picaresque coming-of-age tradition of Holden Caulfield, Huck Finn, Little Orphan Annie and the irrepressible Dorothy on the road to Oz.

Antin is now bringing her new memoir directly to the public through a series of performance readings in museums, art spaces and universities around the country. Conversations with Stalin will also be published by Green Integer Press.

In New York, Antin will present a single performative event in four parts. She will be reading the entire memoir Conversations with Stalin over a single week, with four consecutive chapters read at each of four sites. This will allow the memoir to be experienced from beginning to end in the city where it all happened. Even though she has lived and worked in Southern California for many years, there is a part of her that never left home. In a sense, mid-20th century New York remains the shtetl of her dreams, buried in time but never far away. As usual in Antin’s work, stories tumble out of stories as they crack her up, freak her out, surprise her, but always amuse her even when they lie to her. Antin’s stand up, punchy and inventive style allows the audience to enjoy any or all of the unique readings whether they attend one or attend all four.

Monday morning at 11:30am, January 28th at the Jewish Museum

Tuesday evening at 6pm, January 29th at the Ronald Feldman Gallery

Thursday evening at 7pm, January 31st at the Brooklyn Museum

Friday evening at 6:30pm, February 1st, at the Whitney Museum

As one of the first artists to re-introduce autobiography, narrative, and performance back into the art world during the late ’60s and ’70s, Eleanor Antin created an imaginary theatre of personae and mythological characters, dramatizing contemporary personal and political narratives through a kind of historical time travel. From the iconic lives of her three personas (King, Ballerina, and Nurse) to the ancient world as a filter to understand our own world, Antin has been in the forefront of the post-modern adventure.

For more information, contact Eleanore Hopper at (212) 226-3232 or eleanore [​at​] feldmangallery.com.

Eleanor Antin works in a variety of media, including photography, video, film, performance, installation, drawing and writing. She has had many one-woman exhibitions, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum and a major retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her works are in many collections around the world including the Beaubourg, Tate Modern, MOMA, the Whitney, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Loeb Family Foundation. She has performed around the world including the Venice Biennale, Documenta 12, and the Sydney Opera House. Her cult feature film The Man Without a World (1991) was screened at many festivals, among them Berlin, USA, London, and San Francisco Jewish and had art-house commercial distribution. She is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York City. Her many awards include an Honorary Doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2009) and a Lifetime Achievement award from the Woman’s Caucus of the College Art Association (2006). Antin is an emeritus professor of Visual Arts at the University of California at San Diego.