SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

80 Langton Street

Eleanor Antin, The Ballerina and the Bum (15th November 1975)



In The Ballerina and the Bum, 1974, a movie that Antin shot on videotape because it was more affordable than film, our romantic young waif of a heroin is, in Antin’s words, “a would-be ballerina from the sticks, who plans to walk across the United States to make it in the Big City. She meets a bum on a freight train, and together they dream of success.” So, like the King, the Ballerna’s significance is centered less in virtuoso ability, triumphal achievement, or the heroic deeds that are recorded in the master narratives of Western civilization than it is in her aspirations, her inner life, her spiritual and psychological self. The biographies of Antin’s personae became the substance of her art. (Fox 1999: 76-7)

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