June 2015, Exhibition Review, Artmargins / by Alina Bliumis


"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