Venice Biennale Remainders: Allora and Calzadilla Aren’t So Bad | Christian Marclay’s “Timeless” Clock | Scads of Flickr Photos

by Paddy Johnson on June 10, 2011 · 7 comments Venice

The weakest work of the Allora Calzadilla exhibition: this seven-and-a-half-foot replica of the Statue of Freedom inside a tanning booth. Image via: NYMagazine. Photo: Filippo Monteforte

A few final thoughts on Venice before I pack it in for the weekend:
Jerry Saltz and Adrian Searle both maybe like Allora and Calzadilla’s tank at the US Pavilion, but Saltz thinks the rest should go. Sure it was a bit of a circus, but I liked the show regardless. As I wrote at The Daily,

Despite the inevitable buzz, the tank and organ weren't even the best works in their own pavilion – that honor goes to a series of gymnast routines on airline seats, performed roughly every fifteen minutes, that used Olympic athletes as both appendage and counterpoint to the sculptural qualities of business class. The best moments came when the choreography mimicked the form of the seat itself – there's a simple enjoyment of the human body here that escapes the heavy-handed political worries of other works at the pavilion.

It’s worth mentioning here that the routines clearly needed more time to develop. Used to performing to giant audiences on stage, many of the movements designed to be seen at a distance remained part of the choreography. The rooms in the pavilion, though, were very small and packed with people, so often those gestures were too grand to make the intended impact. Having interviewed some of the athletes involved, it seems like this was simply a mistake – a matter of not preparing their routines with the space in mind. Given how much of the piece worked, though, it was easy to look past that. I hope the couple has a chance to develop the work in the future.

Elad Lassry, "Untitled (Ghost)", 2011. 35 mm color film (1.33 full frame), 18', silent.

Those looking to see the Biennale through the lens of a shitty photographer are in luck. I’ve uploaded and organized several hundred photographs I took while in Venice to flickr. Many of them are now captioned, as well, though that process is ongoing. The Art Fag City flickr steam is an image database I use for research when reviewing shows, but its there for readers as well. There’re only three years of archives so far, but I find it invaluable.

Christian Marclay's The Clock

From Dan Cameron’s Facebook page: It’s beginning to seem like Christian Marclay’s The Clock (which I caught about 90 minutes of today and hope to stay at all night this week) is the definitive artwork of our time. Anybody feel differently (or the same)?

Cue the Facebook choir. Everyone loves this work.

I like it too, but am I the only one who thinks this piece will look very dated in just a few short years? Producing a project like this right now is very hard, but I see a future in which some high school kid with loads of free time does better. In any case, something about the words “definitive artwork of our time” makes me cringe. Call me old fashioned but I’d like the piece to exist for at least a few years before we start adding it to all our textbooks.


Walter Latimer June 10, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Avatar made more money than any other movie ever but it didn’t win best picture.  Just saying

Movaco June 12, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Crash won Best Picture but it was terrible. Just saying, too. 

Walter Latimer June 14, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Wasn’t implying that Avatar deserved it, just that the biggest hits don’t always deserve to be declared classics

Hhalle June 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm

I’ve known Christian for 30 years and I like him and his work. Having said that, yeah, The Clock has been vastly overrated. 

Norskamerikansk June 12, 2011 at 9:10 am

Marclay is skilled at giving people what they think they want.

Peter Dobey June 13, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Ya Paddy its ridiculous for Mr Cameron to call out such a claim so prematurely. Also- his art piece is ofcourse so engaging to the viewer, especially in a thats-neat way- but really its still just a quite basic, almost gimicky ideas for which he was the first one to take the time to do. (or some huge crew of assistants) I think to call it a defining work of our time says more about the dearth of profound work in our time than it says about the genius or excellence of this piece.

-Peter Dobey

Sven June 14, 2011 at 4:20 am

i thought The Clock blew but paddy did u just make the my kid could do that argument? i mean y not……..

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