Alina and Jeff Bliumis
A Painting for a Family Dinner (2012)
Alina and Jeff Bliumis have placed a call for participation from Bronx residents and families to invite the artists to their homes for dinner. For each dinner, the artists create a painting that will be a still life with fruits and “Thank You for Your Dinner!”. At the end of each dinner, participants are seated on a family couch with the painting hung above the couch and a family portrait will be taken by a photographer.
The artists are basing their project on a simple social exchange: providing a product/painting and in return receiving dinner and company/social interaction. Through this exchange, the artists initiate an unlikely meeting point and a set of conversations, as well as eliminate the numerous steps separating the artist and the audience, artwork and its owner. A Painting for a Family Dinner / Bronx, NY creates a situation in which both initiator and receiver are equal and active participants in the creation of the artwork.
Cultural Tips for New Americans (2011)
Exhibited at About Face (2011)
The proverbial “Land of Opportunity,” United States, has always had a steady stream of new Americans. For this project, Alina and Jeff Bliumis gathered advice to help recent arrivals assimilate and understand their new home.
The artists took advice from published guides, public forums, streets questionnaires, social websites, and friends to create tips like: “When two Americans are standing and talking to each other they stay at least 16 inches away.”
Alina and Jeff Bliumis have illustrated these tips and created posters to be placed on telephone kiosks on the Bowery and in the streets of Chinatown and Soho, from May 1–May 28, 2011.
Accompanying the street posters, the artists also produced a handbook of all the tips. Books and outdoor banners and stickers; Courtesy of the Artists, Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York and The Franklin Furnace
How To Catch A Big Fish / A Field Guide (2009)
Foam, ink, acrylic
Exhibited at The Chelsea Hotel (2009)
Alina and Jeff Bliumis, Russian multimedia artists living and working in New York for 16 years and 34 years respectively, are still aware of the “foreigness” and `otherness” that greets their accents when they first meet people. Though living in a city of immigrants, they are receptive to the way that language can act as both a tool of communication and understanding and a barrier to the same. Their series of “Language Barriers” - which consist mainly of dictionaries from multiple languages, act in foam, with titles transferred to the surfaces and hand finished with acrylic paint, form boundaries or paths. Their installation for the Chelsea Hotel project is called “How To Catch A Big Fish” (2009), a site-specific installation which consists of a series of 7 open books made in foam, ink, acrylic that draws from the commercial and historical past of the exhibited venue.
“How To Catch A Big Fish" presents a number of tips and notes of what fishing method or bait should be used to catch the various celebrities associated with the history of Chelsea Hotel. For example: for Andy Warhol the artists advise using the Commercial Fish method - and as a bait the following: Campbell, Monroe, Multiples, Chelsea Girls and El Quixote. Other featured celebrities are Sid Viscious, Arthur Miller, Allen Ginsberg, Spinal Tap and Yves Klein. All the “tips” are taken from actual fishing manuals.