No, not Abbott & Costello, but Allora and Calzadilla. Yes, we are finally leaving the world of commedia, but not the world of Venice. Earlier this summer I reported on A & C's work, this year's unusual U.S. entry to the Venice Biennale arts festival, which runs through November 27th. In that early post, I didn't have any video to show from Venice. Now I do, plus this dissenting review from the NY Times.
The Times reviewer said it "definitely makes you think about American presumption and military and financial might, as well as nationalism and its various expressions" and that it is "unlike almost anything else at the Biennale" but that she "didn't much like it." Why? Because "their efforts tend to lack artistic paradox, nuance or form — the things that allow viewers to think for themselves. Instead they offer an angry, sophomoric Conceptualism that borders on the tyrannical and that in many ways mimics the kinds of forces they criticize."
Read the whole Times review here. Other reviews tended to be far more positive, such as this article from L Magazine or this piece in The Daily.
Here's a video interview with the artists with some performance footage.
More footage, no narrative, from Vernissage TV.
A performance of Body in Flight:
There are other videos on YouTube from the Biennale, mostly clips shot by tourists; just search for "Allora and Calzadilla & Venice."
Not having seen this, far be it from me to pass judgment. Would I have actually liked it? Maybe yes, maybe no. As intrigued as I might be by the use of acrobatics in a fresh context, I often find performances concocted by visual artists to be pretentious and over-rated. But would I go see this? Of course!
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