Indepth Arts News: |
"Puerto Rican Light: Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla"
2003-05-17 until 2003-07-20
New York, NY,
The Americas Society will host "Puerto Rican Light," the first major exhibition of artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, from
May 18 to July 20, 2003. Allora and Calzadilla have been
working together since 1995, living part of the year in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, and part in Guaynabo, Puerto
Rico. Their work includes drawing installations, digital
photography, sculptural works, and community collaborations. "Puerto Rican Light" will present three works by Allora
and Calzadilla that utilize a variety of representational
means to convey light "from" the island of Puerto Rico
including: an installation of "Traffic Patterns" (2001-
2003), a photograph from the series "Seeing Otherwise"
(1999-2003), and the sculptural project "Puerto Rican
Light (to Dan Flavin)" (2003).
"Traffic Patterns" consists of a drop ceiling containing
a unique lighting system that will synchronize the light
in the gallery space with a traffic light in the city of
San Juan, PR. The gallery will be illuminated for some
minutes with red light, followed by a brief moment in
yellow, and then green. To achieve this synchronization,
the lighting system uses a specially designed controller/
relay device connected to a computer chip programmed
with the time-code of the traffic light. "Traffic Patterns"
has been exhibited previously, but its presentation in
"Puerto Rican Light " will be the first instance of linking
two cities together, literally transmitting to New York
City an organizing pattern located in San Juan, Puerto
Initiated in 1999, "Seeing Otherwise" is a series of
photographic seascapes taken mainly on the shoreline
of Puerto Rico beaches that depict individuals contemplating
sunsets. With an almost indiscernible digital manipulation
to the photograph, the sunrays over the sea are deflected
from the camera lens to the individual in each respective
photo. The deliberate deflection of light emphasizes the
individual who is viewing the sunset. Symbolically, this
accentuates what would be impossible to see otherwise
- what another person sees as they experience a sunset.
For "Puerto Rican Light," one photograph from this
series will be featured, "Seeing Otherwise (Cataño)."
The third project, "Puerto Rican Light (to Dan Flavin),"
consists of capturing and storing solar energy in a battery
bank especially designed to provide the proper voltage to
light "Puerto Rican Light (to Jeanie Blake), "-a 1965
sculpture by artist Dan Flavin. During the month of April,
the battery bank, which is connected to solar panels, will
be located in the gardens of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo
de Puerto Rico in San Juan, PR. Once full of solar energy,
the battery bank will be shipped to the Americas Society,
where it will be connected to Flavin's fluorescent light
sculpture. The battery bank will supply enough energy
to light Flavin's sculpture throughout the exhibition.
"Puerto Rican Light" will be accompanied by a fully
illustrated publication to be released in August 2003. It
will include writings by the artists and exhibition curator
Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy; Dean Daderko (independent
curator, Brooklyn); Jane Farver (Director, MIT List Visual
Arts Center, Massachusetts); Olukemi Ilesanmi (Assistant
Curator, The Walker Art Center for the Arts, Minneapolis);
Yates McKee (writer, New York); and Yasmin Ramirez (art
historian, New York). -1:0:1, an innovative collective of
designers based in Monterrey, Mexico, has been
commissioned to design this publication.
"Chalk Monuments," a project by Allora & Calzadilla
organized in conjunction with the exhibition, will take
place at three New York City elementary schools during
May 2003. The project consists of using pieces of chalk
cast in the likeness of three New York City public art
statues depicting Juan Pablo Duarte, José Martí, and
George Washington for use in classroom and after-school
activities associated with the history of these important
"Puerto Rican Light" is made possible through the generous
support of the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Trust, The Andy
Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Moisés and Diana
Berezdivin. Additional support was provided to the artists
through the Grants Program of the Council for the Arts at
"Chalk Monuments" is made possible through The Fund For
Creative Communities, administered by The Lower Manhattan
Cultural Council through the New York State Council on the
Arts' Decentralization Program.
The Americas Society wishes to acknowledge the following
individuals and organizations for their cooperation and support
in the realization of this project: Lombard-Freid Fine Arts,
New York; Jed Ela; Michelle Marxuach and M&M Proyectos,
an Juan; Museo de Arte Contempóraneo de Puerto Rico, San
Juan; Jennifer Spence; and Washington Heights-Inwood
Coalition, New York.
"Founded in 1965, the Americas Society is a unique national
not-for-profit institution with a mission to promote a better
understanding in the United States about the cultures and
societies of Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
"Puerto Rican Light" is part of a new approach to visual
arts programming that reflects on the increasing political,
economic, and cultural interdependence between the United
States and other countries of the Americas, and that focuses
on notions of cultural contact, exchange, and dialogue.
The Americas Society is located on 680 Park Avenue at
68th Street, New York, NY 10021. For additional information
about the exhibition, please contact us at (212) 277-8361,
fax (212) 249-5868, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.