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"Helen's Odyssey"Eleanor Antin

June 12, 2008

In this film, artist Eleanor Antin considers the various representations of Helen of Troy. “Frequently she’s depicted as this dumb blonde because she was a much hated person” says Antin, “but at the same time, [she was] an image of great fascination because of her incredible beauty and the power she obviously wielded.”

Within the artist’s 2007 series of photographs, Helen’s Odyssey, Helen of Troy is finally able to speak for herself through historically reimagined scenes Antin has meticulously composed.

More information and credits


Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Camera & Sound: Larissa Nikola-Lisa. Additional Footage: Daniel Martinico. Editor: Jennifer Chiurco. Artwork courtesy: Eleanor Antin. Thanks: Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Eleanor Antin

An influential performance artist, filmmaker, and installation artist, Eleanor Antin delves into history—whether of ancient Rome, the Crimean War, the salons of nineteenth-century Europe, or her own Jewish heritage and Yiddish culture—as a way to explore the present. Antin is a cultural chameleon, masquerading in theatrical or stage roles to expose her many selves. Her most famous persona is that of Eleanora Antinova, the tragically overlooked black ballerina of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Appearing as Antinova in scripted and non-scripted performances for over a decade, Antin has blurred the distinction between her identity and that of her character. In the process, she has created a rich body of work, detailing the multiple facets of her beloved Antinova, including a fictitious memoir and numerous films, photographs, installations, performances, and drawings.

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Helen of Troy

Eleanor Antin’s discusses the historical figure Helen of Troy, and how she became the inspiration for photographic works such as Constructing Helen (2007).

History Reimagined

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Eleanor Antin