PRINT September 2009

Thomas Crow

Set for the Jackson Pollock Bar’s performance Opening, 2009, for the UAE pavilion, Venice, June 4, 2009.

“VENICE IS THE OSCARS,” says Tirdad Zolghadr, curator of the United Arab Emirates pavilion in this year’s Venice Biennale, in one video component of his installation. Or, rather, he said it some months ago at a press conference announcing the pavilion, the transcript of which was recorded by British and American actors and then lip-synched by two others portraying Zolghadr and the UAE-pavilion commissioner, Lamees Hamdan. Visitors to the opening experienced this in real time as part of a performance by Freiburg, Germany’s Jackson Pollock Bar, a troupe that specialize in ventriloquized restagings of art-world panels and symposia—down to scripted, loudly recorded pouring and drinking of water by the participants.

The table and chairs used by the performers will remain in place over the course of the Biennale, with a video of the event playing on a chunky monitor resting between

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