For the ninth installment of the Performance Exhibition Series, the artists Jennifer Allora (b. 1974) and Guillermo Calzadilla (b. 1971) present Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on Ode to Joy for a Prepared Piano (2008). For this piece, the artists carved a hole in the center of a grand piano, through which a pianist plays the famous Fourth Movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, usually referred to as “Ode to Joy.” The performer leans over the keyboard and plays upside down and backwards, while moving with the piano across the vast atrium. The result is a structurally incomplete version of the ode—the hole in the piano renders two octaves inoperative—that fundamentally transforms both the player/instrument dynamic and the signature melody, underlining the contradictions and ambiguities of a song that has long been invoked as a symbol of humanist values and national pride.

Download the Performance 9: Allora & Calzadilla schedule

Performances take place hourly starting at 11:30 a.m. every day the Museum is open.

Organized by Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA Chief Curator at Large and Director, MoMA PS1; and Jenny Schlenzka, Assistant Curator for Performance, Department of Media and Performance Art.

The Performance Exhibition Series is made possible by MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation.