Project Statement at Parallel Vienna, Vienna, September 24-30 by Alina Bliumis

ROJECT STATEMENT at PARALLEL VIENNA
Lassallestraße 1, 1020 Vienna
www.parallelvienna.com

Press preview: Monday, 24th September. 2018
Opening: Tuesday, 25th September 2018

The fair will run from Wednesday, 26th September-Sunday, 30th September 2018.

I will be showing Most of Us Are 2018 alongside works by Jeff Bliumis and Ivan Novikov, curator Maria Kalinina.

Most Of Us Are, 2018, Ink and graphite pencil on unprimed canvas, 68x58 cm each

Stamatina Gregory
Never Been to Nauru

What is a global citizen? In the absence of a transnationally enforceable set of laws or doctrines on human rights, ecological preservation, or other interests of humanity, what remains is a set of ideas, historical and contemporary, on what this term—global citizenship—could mean. In 2005, the World Values Survey—a global research project providing data on socio-cultural and political change—included for the first time the statement “I see myself as a world citizen,” in its polling of almost 54 countries on subjects including religion, national identity, and well-being. (For the record, most of those polled in 2005 agreed.) Over the past decade (one in which globalization and its discontents have been only recently the subject of major electoral rifts), global citizenship has come to be defined in various ways, including interconnectedness, social and environmental justice, empathy, and cultural understanding.

Although there are now plenty of innovative curricula and inspired mission statements around this idea, there is little consensus on how and why people come to see themselves as shar- ing some wider identity. But one could extrapolate one possible shared idea: on some levels and in some ways, however banal or incidental, we are more alike than different. Regardless of mass educational inequality, we generally agree that the earth is round. Despite our nuanced views on the finer points of the government’s regulation of the free market, or the degree to which extreme wealth is rightfully earned, we mostly agree that capitalism’s effects are evident (the poor get poorer). We have statistically dominant favorite colors and favorite Disney moments.

If some of this sounds like a sappy commercial, that’s no accident. “Most Of Us Are” (2018) takes as its material recent years of both statistic demographic research and global opinion polling—practices that originated after the Depression, when decreased funding for advertising created a demand for more informed knowledge about domestic (and eventually, international) consumer demographics. Bliumis’s work references several of the hundreds of worldwide polls undertaken recently, including regular Bible reading (tracked by Gallup since 1992); acknowl- edgment of climate change (Gallup, 2007); belief that capitalism results in growing inequality (YouGov, 2017); and the belief in extraplanetary life (Glocalities, 2017). In each work on canvas, a global everyperson, metaphorically sketched in broad categorical strokes, is accompanied by the literal sketches of figures, resembling those found in instructional books on life drawing, which present “average” human figures and the basic shapes of their rendering – cubes, triangles, oblongs, long and arced lines. Unique physiognomies, race, disability, and other forms of dif- ference evaporate in these dual portraits, each a simultaneously tender and absurdist poem of statistical appropriation. 

On the one hand, no citizen of the world cobbled together from shared demographic data truly exists. “Most of Us Are #1” makes this point, tongue in cheek, noting “most of us are named Mohammed, last name Lee.” A few Mohammed Lees undoubtedly exist in the world—but clearly under a radically different set of intercultural circumstances than the vast majority of those that share either their surname or first name. (A well-known line from the American TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory, in which a character, angling for a “statistical edge” in his answer to a trivia question about a famous astronaut, shouts the name “Mohammed Lee,” has become a contemporary punchline.) “Most of Us Are” playfully follows this tension, moving between the broad strokes which sketch an imaginary global citizen (at least, an imaginary product of a nar- row set of offered choices, opinions, and affiliations), and a citizen for whom broadly constructed categories of identity may never (or could never) apply.

Whoever a global citizen might be, most of us would agree: freedom of movement is en- demic to their self-perception. (The mere ability to respond to a poll, signaling some degree of enfranchisement, might be another indicator.) What “Most Of Us Are #2” states is true: most of us have “never been to Nauru.” But the tiny state in Oceania is a microcosm for the global forces that shape our opinions and affiliations, as well as our seemingly immutable identifying data. Nauru is like many other parts of the globe in its history of colonization, military base use, ecological devastation due to phosphorous mining, turning the island into a hollow shell rimmed by coconut palms: an invasive species that has wiped out any remaining indigenous flora. With its natural resources depleted, and its one-time economic boom turned to seemingly permanent bust, the Nauruan government instituted liberal banking policies, becoming an easy access point for international money-laundering operations. Most recently, Nauru has entered into the rapidly expanding business of offshore refugee detention, partnering with the Australian government to keep asylum seekers, including children, in conditions of imprisonment lasting years: an indefi- nite “processing” aimed to quell anti-immigrant sentiment. Residents of similar places in the world, in which neither practical national citizenship nor any sense of global affinity are able to exist, are growing.

With this in mind, perhaps the better question is not who is the global citizen, but where is the global citizen? Or rather, where and how does this idea exist? According to a recent poll by GlobeScan, citizens of emerging economies, including China, Peru, and India, are most likely to identify as citizens of the world—more strongly than their sense of belonging to their own country. But, perhaps unsurprisingly among citizens of Germany, the US, and Russia a sense of nationalism has been rising. “Most Of Us Are,” deceptively simple in form, draws the faintest lines of the structures of power that construct our entire subjectivity. In this speculative space, a gentle call, a lyric appeal to look beyond a rapidly encroaching, perilous nativism. 

APERTO RAUM, BERLIN 13 September - 22 October 2018 by Alina Bliumis

Alina Bliumis
Political Animals

Aperto Raum
Sophienstraße 21, 2|3 Sophie-Gips-Höfe
10178 Berlin-Mitte
Opening: 12 September 2018, 6 pm
Exhibition: 13 September - 22 October 2018
Artist Dialogue: 20 September 2018, 7 pm

Bliumis_PoliticalAnimals_email.jpg

Aperto Raum is proud to present Political Animals by Alina Bliumis, her first solo exhibition In Germany. The title of the exhibition references Aristotle's term in his Politics. "However, instead of meaning, as Aristotle did, that we build society by practicing good social relations in organized establishments called cities (polis), Bliumis mockingly takes this expression at face value through a comic, yet productive form of literal mistranslation by focusing the use of birds, bears, and so forth, in political theater. Regardless of biology, states divide the world into two types of fictive persons: their citizenry, and everyone else. So as to keep this exclusionary set-up under control we had to invite something bestial, but sadly, something all too human: the police. Although borders are themselves fictive, try to cross one without your identity papers. But really, what is identity anyways? I mean if your documents are expired, does your name do so well? Or perhaps, your height and eye color vanish in a puff of smoke, poof!” - excerpt from Adam Kleinman,  "Plucked," exhibition catalogue

Political Animals presents four series: Amateur Bird Watching at Passport Control, If There Is A Bear, Political Animals and Most Of Us Are. Amateur Bird Watching at Passport Control focuses on the birds that are featured on passport covers from countries around the world. From eagles to doves, from Albania to Tonga, this series explores the intersection of nation and nature.  The series If There Is A Bear is inspired by the TV ad titled The Bear, created by Hal Riney for the 1984 U.S. presidential campaign of Republican candidate Ronald Reagan. This example of the Cold War narrative make us aware that using animal imagery for the purpose of politics is not merely an aesthetic choice, but in fact a political strategy. While Political Animals is blurring the boundaries between the human and the animal, Most of Us Are is a study of the human species based on statistics of the “most typical” person worldwide.

Alina Bliumis, born in Minsk, Belarus, is a New York-based artist. She has exhibited internationally at the First, Second, and Third Moscow Biennales of Contemporary Art (Moscow, Russia), Busan Biennale 2006 (Busan, South Korea), Assab One (Milan, Italy), the Bronx Museum of the Arts (New York, US), Galerie Anne de Villepoix (Paris, France), Centre d’art Contemporain (Meymac, France), The James Gallery, The Graduate Center CUNY (New York, US), Museum of Contemporary Art (Cleveland, US), Museums of Bat Yam (Bat-Yam, Israel), the Jewish Museum (New York, US), the Saatchi Gallery (London, UK) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK).  Her works are in various private and public collections, including the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Russia), Museums of Bat Yam (Israel), the Saatchi Collection (UK), the Harvard Business School (US), the Museum of Immigration History, Paris (France) and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (UK).

Image: Alina Bliumis, Political Animals, 2018, C-print

Aperto_logo.jpg

PUSHKIN HOUSE, LONDON 22 JUNE - 20 AUGUST 2018 by Alina Bliumis

Alina Bliumis, AMATEUR BIRD WATCHING AT PASSPORT CONTROL, curated by Elena Zaytseva
PRIVATE VIEW: THURSDAY 21 JUNE AT 7.30 - 9.00 PM  ARTIST’S TALK AND Q&A: THURSDAY 21 JUNE AT 6.30 - 7.30 PM   

 Alina Bliumis, Amateur Bird Watching at Passport Control, Dodo, Mauritius, 2016-2017, Relief etching on Rivers BFK paper, 12 x 9 in / 30 x 22 cm, Unique

Alina Bliumis, Amateur Bird Watching at Passport Control, Dodo, Mauritius, 2016-2017, Relief etching on Rivers BFK paper, 12 x 9 in / 30 x 22 cm, Unique

The graphic series Amateur Bird Watching at Passport Control (2016-17), which lends this show its title, explores the human relationship with freedom and nature. It is built around a paradox, revealed by Bliumis in her study of the passport covers of nations all over the world: that birds, the ultimate symbol of freedom, are used on documents controlling international movement. The Belarus-born New-York based artist Bliumis has worked with the themes of geopolitics, national borders, migration and nature throughout her career that spans more then ten years.  

As old as the Bible, the written document allowing the crossing of borders and offering remote protection has been issued by those in power, those who were able to control the movements of people. The first of such known documents was by the Persian king Artaxerxes who issued a letter to the prophet Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:7-9) for travelling to Judea. Notably, the mission of the prophet was to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Since then humankind has built and crossed walls with the aid of written or printed documents, issued by those entitled to control the movements of people.

Pushkin House in London is holding this exhibition on the second anniversary of the Brexit vote, when on the 23rd June 2016 the British nation by a marginal majority voted to leave the European Union. This result, that came as a shock to both sides, has led to a long period of debate about borders, border control and freedom of movement.

This graphic series focuses on the birds - stamped in metallic gold on passport covers all over the world. Their use in hereditary symbols and coats of arms  evokes a series of attitudes, that Bliumis is tapping into. For example, the dominating use of Roman eagles chosen by the majority of states might reflect on expansionist ambitions or - post-colonial condition. The extinct bird Dodo might warn about ecology as well as doves and birds of paradise could refer to relationship between humans and nature that goes as deep as to the pre-historic times when the nation states did not yet exist.

After examining 193 passport covers from countries around the world, the artist discovered  that 43 countries have bird-related creatures as part of their coat of arms, 50 birds in total. For the series, Bliumis isolated each bird from its national symbolic context and drew it true to the source, with a focus on the species’ characteristics: the famous one-legged pose of a flamingo (Bahamas), a vulture in a gliding flight (Mali), an extinct flightless dodo (Mauritius) and a part woman and part bird mythological creature, Harpy (Liechtenstein). Some birds were easy to identify, some required research using various birding resources. Each bird was drawn on  copper plate, etched and printed in a single copy.

“Alina Bliumis came to the USA from Belarus. One of the persistent topics of her art is a reflection on the processes of accommodation and integration in which everyone with a similar background is unavoidably involved. The tone of this reflection is far from being dictated by personal ressentiment or protest. Rather, her attention is drawn by the absurdities of the processes themselves. Her recent projects “Amateur Bird Watching at the Passport Control” and “Political Animals” deal with the images of animals and birds that serve as symbols for different national states and thus put on the official documents, including passports, of their citizens.”

— Boris Groys

Alina Bliumis is New York-based artist. Alina received her BFA from the School of Visual Art in 1999 and a diploma from the Advanced Course in Visual Arts in Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, Italy in 2005. 

Alina has exhibited internationally at the First, Second, and Third Moscow Biennales of Contemporary Art (Moscow, Russia), Busan Biennale 2006 (Busan, South Korea), Assab One (Milan, Italy), the Bronx Museum of the Arts (New York, US), Galerie Anne de Villepoix (Paris, France), Centre d’art Contemporain (Meymac, France), The James Gallery, The Graduate Center CUNY (New York, US), Museum of Contemporary Art (Cleveland, US), Museums of Bat Yam (Bat-Yam, Israel), the Jewish Museum (New York, US), the Saatchi Gallery (London, UK) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK).

Her works are in various private and public collections, including the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Russia), Museums of Bat Yam (Israel), the Saatchi Collection (UK), the Harvard Business School (US), the Museum of Immigration History, Paris (France) and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (UK).

Amateur Bird Watching at Passport Control, Album 2016- 2017 is comprised of 43 works, 12x9 inches each, relief etching on paper, unique.                                                    

Please note that due to summer holidays the exhibition hours changed.

Exhibition opened on  22 June - 6 July and 11 - 25 August daily 11.00 am - 5 pm

9 July - 10 August by appointment only, t. 02072699770

CULTURAL TIPS FOR NEW AMERICANS UNDER TRUMP at SPRING/BREAK ART SHOW 2018 by Alina Bliumis

ALINA & JEFF BLIUMIS / CULTURAL TIPS FOR NEW AMERICANS UNDER TRUMP

CURATED BY KSENIA M. SOBOLEVA

SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2018 STRANGER COMES TO TOWN

March 6 - March 12, 2018
4 Times Square, NYC (Entrance at 140 West 43rd Street) 

Bliumis_Cultural_Tips_install_VER_150DPI.jpg

Throughout their practice, Alina and Jeff Bliumis engage in an ongoing investigation into foreignness and the ontology of cultural misfits. As exemplified by the title of their first catalogue, Receiving the Stranger, the artists’ work is rooted in the desire to communicate through difference. Using communication as the medium par excellence, their projects raise questions around what constitutes community, what constitutes borders, and how the former are shaped by the latter. Most importantly, the artists acknowledge that language itself can function as a border, as a paradigm of power, and can be used to frame communities. In the words of literary theorist Leo Bersani, language doesn’t merely describe identity but actually produces it.

Cultural Tips for New Americans Under Trump reiterates a project that Alina & Jeff Bliumis first undertook in 2011. In this earlier it- eration, Cultural Tips for New Americans, the artists set out to compile advice that people who consider themselves “real Americans” give to newcomers, to supposedly help them assimilate to their new surroundings. Characterized by a certain lightheartedness and humor, these cultural tips in fact reveal inherent aspects of American society and say more about Americans themselves than the communities to whom they address their advice. Having immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe, Alina and Jeff Bliumis picked up on this American encouragement to “blend in” early on. Now, in the wake of our current political climate, the artists felt an urgency to revisit this project, and gathered additional cultural tips for new Americans living under the Trump presidency using handbooks, public forums, street question- naires, and social media. The collection of tips that resulted from the artists’ inquiry ranges from amusing suggestions (If someone says ‘come over anytime’ don’t take it literally) to harsh realities (Sometimes undocumented immigrants stay undocumented for a long time). Concur- rently, the artists collected ethnic wooden souvenirs, which radiate a certain fetishization of otherness, from all around New York City and sandblasted these objects to remove their original decorations and uncover the wood underneath. The cultural tips are then written onto the wooden souvenirs in ink, causing them to become decontextualized objects, much like the immigrants to whom the cultural tips are addressed.

The wooden sculptures are accompanied by Alina Bliumis’ recent series Most of Us Are and After Total War Comes Total Living. Rooted in the constructivist aesthetic of the 1920’s, these works reinforce the role of language in the construction of identity. Most of Us Are mixes up statistics of the “most typical” people worldwide, resulting in what could be considered portraits of generalized citizens, while After Total War Comes Total Living takes inspiration from the eponymous Cold War poster and brings propaganda rhetoric from the past into the present.

Jeff Bliumis’ series Dreamers is displayed in a separate room across the hall. Painted with oil on canvas, these works might seem to a disengaged viewer to be nothing more than portraits of people in the service industry. In actuality, the paintings capture the immigrant communities of New York City and explore the variety of intricate identities, adding a bodily presence to the cultural tips.

For more information, please contact Ksenia M. Soboleva at: ksenia.soboleva@nyu.edu 

September 21-24 2017, viennacontemporary by Alina Bliumis

Alina Bliumis, Amateur Bird Watching at Passport Control, 2016-2017 

Popiashvili Gvaberidze Window Project

viennacontemporary
21 – 24 September 2017
Marx Halle Vienna
Karl-Farkas-Gasse 19, 1030, Vienna, Austria

Booth E25

Imaginary Gardens

Alina Bliumis, Levan Chelidze, Goga Maglakelidze, Giorgi Qochiashvili

Popiashvili Gvaberidze Window Project is pleased to present New York based Alina Bliumis’s new series of objects along with three Georgian painters: Levan Chelidze, Goga Maglakelidze and Giorgi Qochiashvili at Vienna Contemporary 2017. All works in Imaginary Gardens appear to be part of fantasy landscape created by these artists: Bliumis’s birds are “freed” from the passport covers of different countries, Levan Chelidze’s goat-unicorn has one turquoise eye, Goga Maglakelidze’s palm trees shimmer like mirages and Giorgi Qochiashvili paints invented subtropical vegetation in his large scale paintings.

Alina Bliumis’s series of unique objects titled Amateur Bird Watching at Passport Control focuses on the birds that are featured on passport covers of the countries around the world. From eagles to doves, from Albania to Tonga, these series explore the intersection of nation and nature. Birds are often one part of a national system of hereditary symbols, or a coat of arms, and appear debossed in metallic gold on passport covers. The artist has discovered 50 birds or bird-related creatures on 43 pass- port covers. For the series, Bliumis isolated each bird from its national symbolic context and drew it true to the source, with a focus on the species’ characteristics: the famous one-legged pose of a flamingo (Bahamas), a vulture in a gliding flight (Mali), an extinct flightless dodo (Mauritius) and a part woman and part bird mythological creature, Harpy (Liechtenstein).

Levan Chelidze’s works range from large-scale figurative paintings to small portraits of dogs, goat-unicorns, cows and still lives of flowers on the background of Caucasian killims. Levan Chelidze has received formal art education but the academic training didn’t affect his acute observant eye. There is a certain disarming sensitivity in his paintings that resembles the art of naïve painters.

Goga Maglakelidze was Levan Chelidze’s teacher at the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts. He was a member of Archivarius
group of young avant-garde artists that started showing their works in self-organized apartment exhibitions at the end of the 80s in Tbilisi. Since then his work has gone through many changes, within the last decade Maglakelidze completed several large-scale public commissions – among them the facades of city center square in Mestia, mountainous region of Georgia. Maglakelidze is familiar with orthodox Christian iconography and has painted the interior of mid size church in Imereti, Georgia. The paintings presented at viennacontemporary are done with similar technique as religious icons. Wood panels are prepared with special background and painted with natural pigments depict palm trees and birds of paradise that slightly fade on stucco colored backgrounds.

Giorgi Qochiashvili’s imaginary landscapes are often inhabited with dark skinned people. Born in Gagra, Abkhazia, breakaway region of Georgia, Qochiashvili’s family fled the war in the region soon after his birth. His tropical landscapes are based on his family’s photos and his grandfather’s nostalgia for the lost home in Gagra. As a former Rugby player Qochiashvili has traveled to South Africa and has identified the nature and people of South Africa to his native Abkhazia, which he was never allowed to visit. Qochiashvili’s color scheme is soft and there is always certain mysterious element in his compositions.

For further information and images please contact us at info@windowproject.ge or npgallery@gmail.com Popiashvili Gvaberidze Window Project, Shota Rustaveli Avenue 37, Tbilisi, Georgia 

September-December 2016, Solo Show, Popiashvili Gvaberidze Window Project by Alina Bliumis

ALINA AND JEFF BLIUMIS CULTURAL TIPS FOR NEW AMERICANS AT POPIASHVILI GVABERIDZE WINDOW PROJECT, TBILISI, GEORGIA SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER 2016

To be a foreigner — one who is defined as not from here — often means unknowingly breaking rigid social and cultural rules. Definitions of these social and cultural standards often say a lot about the native society. As the proverbial Land of Opportunity, the United States has always had a steady stream of new Americans and "what it means to be an American" is loudly and frequently discussed on national television.

For Cultural Tips For New Americans project, we gathered advice to help recent arrivals assimilate and understand their new home. We took advice from published guides, public forums, streets questionnaires, social websites, and friends.

 

September-October 2016, Group Show, Fest I Nova 2016, Georgia by Alina Bliumis

ALINA BLIUMIS THE 80's AND NOW, GEORGIA AT FEST I NOVA 2016, ARTVILLAGARIKULA, GEORGIA 

The 80's and Now, Georgia is a series of 43 collages from an issue of Amerikamagazine, published in 1983, and the Georgian newspaper, Asaval Dasavali, 2016.

Amerika was a Russian-language magazine published by the United States Department of State during the Cold War for distribution throughout the Soviet Union.  It was intended to inform Soviet citizens about American life and has been described as "polite propaganda".

Asaval Dasavali newspaper is the second largest newspaper in Georgia today, known for its pro-Russian and anti-gay content and as the most aggressive denouncer of all things Western.

The series comments on future memory, the visual language of media, recent history, and the socio-political climate of present-day Georgia.

The 80's and Now, Georgia series was created at ArtVillaGarikula, Georgia and exhibited during Fest I Nova 2016, at American Pavilion, ArtVIlaGarikula, Georgia. *The project has been made possible by ArtVillaGarikula and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant.

July 2016, Solo Show, Bushel by Alina Bliumis

ALINA AND JEFF BLIUMIS, RECENT WORKS, BUSHEL, DELHI, NY

15 July - 5 August 2016

Bushel is pleased to present new work from NYC- and Andes-based artists Alina and Jeff Bliumis. The pair have worked collaboratively since 2000, but this show is built around a single recent series from each artist: Post-News from Alina Bliumis and VIEW FROM BELOW from Jeff Bliumis. Post-News is a series of single-print etchings inspired by the unintentional visual narratives newspaper pages convey and their aftereffects on readers; VIEW FROM BELOW consists of oil paintings of Delaware County residents and workers inspired by the views—both real and imagined—of a patient confined to a hospital bed for an extended period.

June 2015, Lapham's Quarterly by Alina Bliumis

THANK YOU PAINTINGS EXCHANGE IS FEATURED IN PHILANTHROPY ISSUE, LAPHAM'S QUARTERLY, 2015 SUMMER ISSUE

Thank You Paintings Exchange initiates a series of material, social, gestural, intellectual and monetary exchanges between artist and collector. The series of paintings depict scenes of everyday life: a woman sitting on a deserted beach, children playing, cars parked in front of a suburban home, etc. Each painting has the text, Thank You For Your painted on it, completed with words such as Email, Poem, Kiss, Prayers, Dance, Pants, Thoughts. Sometimes a viewer might detect a relationship between the text and the subject of the painting, but there is no deliberate, direct relationship. The painting points toward the value of the painting as an artwork, while the text points toward the exchange the artists propose to initiate with the collector.

June 2015, Group Show, The Saatchi Gallery by Alina Bliumis

BENJAMIN IS PART OF DEAD: A CELEBRATION OF MORTALITYTHE SAATCHI GALLERY, LONDON, UK

26 June - 30 August 2015

Artists: Ahmed Alsoudani, Jordan Baseman, Alina and Jeff Bliumis, Daniel Bragin, Jonny Briggs, Gao Brothers, Gareth Cadwallader, Jodie Carey, David Falconer, Rafael Gómezbarros, Gregory Green, David Herbert, Des Hughes, Gerry Judah, John Kleckner, Terence Koh, Ulrich Lamsfuss, Goshka Macuga, Vikenti Nilin, Halsey Rodman, Aurel Schmidt, Dallas Seitz, Dirk Skreber, Mikhael Subotzky, Denis Tarasov, Andra Ursuta, Francis Upritchard and Little Whitehead

June 2015, Exhibition Review, Artmargins by Alina Bliumis

SPECTERS OF COMMUNISM, WRITTEN BY KSENIA NOURIL

"Jeff and Alina Bliumis, a pair of New York-based, Russian-speaking artists born in Moldova and Belarus, respectively, also open themselves up to the potentialities of new landscapes in the work that produced an installation of thirty-nine 24 x 24 inch photographs at The James Gallery. For their long-term project A Painting for a Family Dinner (2008-2013), the Bliumis' traveled the world from The Bronx to China stopping in Italy and Israel, looking for hosts who would exchange a home-cooked meal for a small sweetly but primitively rendered painting. Their project, which is the only one in the exhibition that does not directly engage with Russia, is documented through photographs where they stand with their temporarily adoptive families and in a set of limited-edition books that trace the project's steps within each country. Reviving the barter system in the twenty-first century when our transactions have advanced to new currencies, like Bitcoins and devices like Apple Pay, the Bliumis' humble proposition is inspiring, even though its success is not guaranteed in the capitalist system. A Painting for a Family Dinner allows us to see a positive side of communism because it puts into practice the notion of equal and shared property circulating within an international codependent community". Excerpt from Specters of Communism: Contemporary Russian Art, The James Gallery and e-flux, New York