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CARVING: A Traditional Sculpture

A work made of 148 gelatin silver prints and text panel.

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  • A work made of 148 gelatin silver prints and text panel.




Eleanor Antin
American, born 1935

About this artwork

A landmark early feminist work, Eleanor Antin’s Carving: A Traditional Sculpture comprises 148 black-and-white photographs documenting the artist’s loss of 10 pounds over 37 days. Every morning she was photographed naked in the same four stances to record her barely perceptible self-induced weight loss. (The photographs from each day are arranged vertically, and the entire process can be read horizontally, like a filmstrip.) Antin’s performance purposely toyed with the traditional process of Greek sculptors, who were said to find their ideal form by chipping away at a block of marble and discarding any unnecessary material. The artist’s idea of “carving” her own body was inspired by an invitation from the Whitney Museum of Art for its biennial survey exhibition, which at the time restricted itself to the established categories of painting and sculpture, though this work was considered too conceptual for the exhibition.


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Eleanor Antin


CARVING: A Traditional Sculpture


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



148 gelatin silver prints and text panel


Each photograph: 17.7 × 12.7 cm (7 × 5 in.); Text panel: 39.4 × 26 cm (15 1/2 × 10 1/4 in.); Installed: 79.4 × 518.2 cm (31 5/16 × 204 1/16 in.); 79.4 × 518.2 cm (31 1/4 × 204 in.)

Credit Line

Twentieth-Century Discretionary Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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