Bieké o Muerte 2001/2006 – Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla – onestar press
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Published 2006

Technique : Digital print on 115 gsm Magistra Blueback poster paper
Format : 4 x 3 m / 157 x 118 inches in 4 pieces
Edition size : 8 copies accompanied by a signed and numbered certificate

The her & him American-Cuban art team Allora & Calzadilla (that’s Jennifer & Guillermo) live and work in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean island that Roosevelt made a protectorate of the U.S. in exchange for voting Democratic. Puerto Rico got welfare, Roosevelt got re-elected president. Puerto Rican independence was a political hot topic in NYC in the 80s, but then it disappeared. Allora & Calzadilla are bringing this complicated, beautiful island and it’s politics back onto our radar screens. Our duo asked the Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas to select this LARGE IMAGE from their archives; “Bieké” is the Vieques language, and not speaking it is a kind of death. The image also subtly reminds us that the U.S. Navy for many years used the smaller offshore island of Vieques (snorkeling is excellent) as their private testing ground for some very dicey bombs (radioactive depleted uranium shells), and the cancer rates today reflect that.
Afterart News #4, Richard Dailey