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EXIT STRATEGY Opening Reception to Take Place This Friday at The Green-Wood Cemetery

The installation – which opened June 1 –is free, open to the public, and on view through August 25, 2024.

By: Jun. 12, 2024
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This summer, The Green-Wood Cemetery’s artist in residence, composer and pianist Adam Tendler, is presenting Exit Strategy, an installation that explores the ephemerality of our own lives and of the physical belongings we leave behind. How do we exit life? How do our belongings also exit life? Tendler makes his first foray into visual art, by combining music, found objects, and text to grapple with the enormity of these questions. The installation – which opened June 1 –is free, open to the public, and on view through August 25, 2024, in Green-Wood’s landmarked nineteenth-century Fort Hamilton Gatehouse.

 This Friday, June 14, Green-Wood will present an opening reception at the Fort Hamilton Gatehouse from 6:00pm-8:30pm. The reception is open to the public and free, but RSVPs are requested at

Tendler has been thinking a lot about exits. What happens when a loved one is no longer here, but their belongings are? What happens to the clothes? The shoes? All the stuff they leave behind? Or, as the artist prefers to call them: the accidental inheritances. The recent death of Tendler’s father, which left him with a lot of these seemingly banal items, inspired the installation and was the jumping-off point to considering the many exits we need to prepare for. As the artist explains, he’s wrestling with the “micro and macro of an exit strategy—from the objects of our everyday lives to the universal question of mortality.”

During his residency in Green-Wood’s historic Fort Hamilton Gatehouse, Tendler invited the public to observe and participate in his process. His open-studio sessions have allowed him to connect with Brooklynites who’ve also experienced grief. He’s asked them to bring objects they have from loved ones they have lost. Visitors have also shared memories, in writing, which Tendler will incorporate into his work throughout the summer. Together, the music, the text, and the visual art create an experience that immerses visitors in the vastness and complexity of memory. The studio’s historic stained-glass windows give the installation a warm, sanctuary-like quality, or as Tendler describes it, a “memory chapel.”

“I’ve drawn inspiration from the diverse community of people who visit Green-Wood. They have shared their stories with me during ‘open studio’ events, leaving me profoundly changed and moved,” the artist said. “The response has been so poignant, especially in the items they’ve brought to me. The piano itself was an artifact brought to Green-Wood from a local family. I call these ‘accidental inheritances’.”

Renowned for personal, intimate performances, Tendler has performed across the country and won significant acclaim, including the prestigious Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists. The Minneapolis Star Tribune dubbed him “the hottest pianist on the American contemporary classical scene.” The Washington Post said he was a “relentlessly adventurous pianist” and The New York Times raved about Tendler “joyfully rocking out at his keyboard.” His most recent program, Inheritances, a New York Times Critics Pick after its 92Y premiere, was created after his father’s unexpected death. Tendler used his inheritance, a brown envelope stuffed with cash, to commission sound artists and composers, including Laurie Anderson, Devonte Hynes, Missy Mazzoli, and Nico Muhly.

“At Green-Wood, we build relationships with contemporary artists. In turn, their art helps us to build relationships with our community,” said Harry Weil, Green-Wood’s Vice President of Education and Public Programs. “During his year at the Cemetery, Adam has really embraced the history of the Green-Wood and its role as a place where people seek solace.”

Throughout the run of Exit Strategy, Tendler will periodically upload excerpts of the music from the installation for listeners to experience on their own on Soundcloud (you can preview them here). At the installation’s conclusion, Tendler will upload the full score.

Exit Strategy will be on view Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 4pm, and by appointment, from June 1 to August 25, 2024. The Fort Hamilton Gatehouse is located inside Green-Wood’s Fort Hamilton Parkway Entrance (at Fort Hamilton Parkway and Micieli Place) and is about a 10-minute walk from the Fort Hamilton F and G Train Station.

Green-Wood’s Artist in Residence program is generously supported by Green-Wood’s board of trustees. To learn more about the installation, visit For information about other arts programming at Green-Wood, visit


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