Thank You Paintings Exchange initiates a series of material, social, gestural, intellectual and monetary exchanges between artist and collector, with the commercial art gallery as site and passive participant. The fifteen paintings on view 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.
In order to acquire a painting, the collector must participate in the exchange the artists have proposed, giving the artists the object, gesture, concept, etc. for which the painting “thanks” them, in addition to making a flat $1,000 financial transaction. The interaction between artist and buyer must be in some way documented, whether that document is the object that is exchanged (“Thank You For Your Pants”) or a photograph of the exchange (“Thank You For Your Hug”), or a written text (“Thank You For Your Thoughts”). The original documentation of the exchange will immediately replace the purchased painting on the wall and a copy of it will be stapled to the back of the painting. The actions and objects requested by the artists may be creatively interpreted by the collector. For example: to exchange for the “Thank You For Your Poem” painting, the collector might give a poem they have written or their favorite poem, it might be hand-written, emailed, or on the page of a book.
Alina & Jeff Bliumis use artistic initiatives to start public dialogues about the politics of community, cultural displacement, migration and national identity. Their projects often progress in a range of forms - a community survey turns into an artist book, then into a performance, then public art, then a participatory event, then an installation. By using socially engaged projects embedded in the real world - performance, photography, sculpture, installation, participatory events and social experiments - they are building an inclusive spirit and a collective imagination. Their core concern is to set spaces of “co-active being” and “co-active thinking.” All participants in the works are equal co-creators, and they consider a project complete when it comes full circle by reporting back to the community where the project was initiated.
Jeff Bliumis (born Kishinev, Moldova) and Alina Bliumis (born Minsk, Belarus) live in New York City and have been collaborating since 2000. Jeff received his BA from Columbia University, New York in 1981. Alina received her BFA from the School of Visual Art, New York in 1999 and a diploma from the Advanced Course in Visual Arts in Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, Italy in 2005, with visiting professor Alfredo Jaar. They have exhibited at the first, second and third Moscow Biennales of Contemporary Art (Moscow, Russia), Busan Biennale 2006 (Busan, South Korea), Centre d’art Contemporain (Meymac, France), Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (Cleveland, USA), Bat-Yam Museum (Bat-Yam, Israel), the Jewish Museum (New York, USA) the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK). They have been the recipents of a number of grants, fellowships and residencies, including the Franklin Furnace Fund, New York (2010-2011); Six Points Fellowship, New York (Alina Bliumis 2007-2009); Trust for Mutual Understanding, New York (2005/2006/2009); Black and White Project Space Residency, Brooklyn, NY (2009); Art in Public Spaces Grant, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York (2008); Strategic Opportunity Stipend, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York (2008); Puffin Foundations Grant, New York (2008) and Quartier 21 Residency, Museums Quartier, Vienna, Austria (2005). Their work resides in various private and public collections, including the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Russia), Bat-Yam Museum (Israel), the Saatchi Collection (UK), the Harvard Business School (USA), the Museum of Immigration History, Paris (France) and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (UK).
The artists will be present for in-person exchanges on Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. during the run of the exhibition, and September 6 - 7 from 12 to 6 p.m.
Please join us for an opening reception on Thursday, July 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. SUMMER HOURS are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 12. to 6 p.m., Thursday 12 to 8 p.m. (when the artists will be present), and other days by appointment. The gallery will be closed for a summer recess from August 9 to 18. Denny Gallery is located at 261 Broome Street in New York City. For further information, contact Elizabeth Denny at 212-226-6537 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.