Allora & Calzadilla – Puerto Rican Light
Puerto Rican Light was Allora & Calzadilla’s first major solo exhibition, presenting three artworks that utilized a variety of representational means to convey light “from” the island of Puerto Rico: the project Puerto Rican Light (2003), using a 1965 Dan Flavin sculpture of the same name, which was lit using solar energy power collected in San Juan; the installation Traffic Patterns (2001–2003), through which the gallery’s lighting system synchronized with a traffic light in the island; and the large-scale photograph from the artist’s series Seeing Otherwise (1999-2003), in which the sun rays on the sea are slightly deflected.
A publication accompanied the exhibition, Allora & Calzadilla’s first. There was also an intensive education program with the artist’s project Chalk Monuments. This program was developed in collaboration with the arts educator Jennifer Spence, and took place in three elementary schools in New York City. Each received chalk pieces modeled after statues of Juan Pablo Duarte, José Martí and George Washington. Class activities were designed so these artist-made chalks could be used in art and history classes dealing with making and writing of history. Other public programming was organized in conjunction to the exhibition. One of these was an artist’s talk where Allora & Calzadilla spoke of their then-incipient research on Vieques.