Brooklyn’s historic Green-Wood Cemetery is soon to host a new presence. In the last two days of April 2017, French artist Sophie Calle will inaugurate an intimate public project in which passersby are invited to bury transcriptions of their deepest, darkest secrets. Here Lie the Secrets of the Visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery is scheduled to run until the year 2042, when Calle will exhume and ceremoniously burn the lot.
On April 29 and 30, the New York City public is invited to Green-Wood Cemetery to unburden themselves with French conceptual artist Sophie Calle. In collaboration with public art organization Creative Time, Calle will install a marble obelisk on the cemetery grounds between Bayside Avenue and Bay Grove Path, complete with a slot through which volunteers may slip their written secrets. The secrets will collect beneath the obelisk in a grave.
Calle will be on-site at Green-Wood Cemetery for the project’s inaugural weekend, which will include free tours of the National Historic Landmark and its numerous monuments. After April 30, the artist will return to the cemetery on occasion to unearth the secrets when the grave is filled. Upon the project’s completion in 25 years, Calle will burn each slip of paper in a cleansing bonfire.
Founded in the late 1830s as one of the first “rural” American cemeteries, a former Revolutionary War battleground, a registered member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System, and the burial site of iconic cultural figures such as artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, designer Louis Comfort Tiffany, and esteemed composer Leonard Bernstein, Green-Wood’s sprawling 478 acres (193 hectares) are both peaceful and historically relevant.
Here Lie the Secrets of the Visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery will run until 2042, and remain open to the public during cemetery hours come May.