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Flurry of Shows Spotlight Allora & Calzadilla Ahead of Biennale

The artists recently chosen to represent the United States in the next Venice Biennale—Allora & Calzadilla (Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla)—have had numerous exhibitions in the United States and Europe, and their work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Tate, London and the Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.

NEW YORK—The artists recently chosen to represent the United States in the next Venice Biennale—Allora & Calzadilla (Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla)—have had numerous exhibitions in the United States and Europe, and their work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Tate, London and the Georges Pompidou Center, Paris. The artists, who live in San Juan, P.R., work in a variety of mediums, including sculpture, video, sound, installation and performance. Six new works in several of these forms will be shown at the Biennale.

Five works by Allora & Calzadilla are on view in a show at Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris, through Oct. 16: three unique sculptures, priced at €48,000/100,000 ($61,500/128,009) each; one photograph, in an edition of five, priced at €7,500 ($9,600); and one video work, in an edition of six, priced at €30,000 ($38,402). Two of the sculptures have already been sold to private buyers, according to Laura Blanchy, assistant director of the gallery. This was Chantal Crousel’s third exhibition of the artists’ work.

In the month preceding the Biennale, collectors will have the opportunity to view works by Allora & Calzadilla at Lisson Gallery, London, which has represented the artists since 2004, the same year that Chantal Crousel began representing their work. In the United States the pair is represented by the Gladstone Gallery.

Alex Logsdail, associate director of the Lisson Gallery, noted that the price range for videos, which are usually sold in editions of six, is $35,000/40,000, and that sculptural works are priced from $65,000 to “several hundred thousand dollars,” depending on the scale of the work. The two artists “have always worked on a large scale,” he said, noting that their prices are higher than they were back in 2004, when the duo joined the gallery, but they have only gone up gradually.

Allora & Calzadilla sometimes rely on others to perform some of their pieces, which Logsdail referred to as “performative sculptures.” A buyer acquires physical props and the right to re-perform the original, “as long as it is done properly, preferably overseen by the artist.” For instance, Balance of Power, 2007, consists of three yoga practitioners wearing military uniforms executing “warrior” poses in London’s Trafalgar Square. The work was purchased by Tate Modern from Lisson for an undisclosed price.

The exhibition “Stop, Repair, Prepare” at the Gladstone Gallery in early 2009 featured a grand piano with a hole cut through the center. Inside stood a pianist, who leaned over to reach the keys and played Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” from inside the piano.

Logsdail described Allora & Calzadilla’s secondary market as “small, very small. People generally keep them, and we haven’t seen many people return to sell them.” Their only auction sale took place last October at Christie’s London, where their video Under Discussion, 2005 (one of an edition of six with three artists’ proofs), was sold for $62,707, five times the estimate of $9,489/12,652.

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