The Keys to Success in the Art World

As our many fans know, The Biennial Project wants ever so much to figure out how to get our work shown in one of those Super-Prestigious-Career-Making-Upper-Level Biennial Exhibits.

So we decided to go directly to the source and ask Successful Artists how they had managed it.

We sent thoughtful individual emails to all the artists who had shown in the 2008/2010 Whitney Biennial or the 2009 Venice Biennale asking for their advice.

The thoughtful individual emails went like this:

Dear ____________, We loved your work at the ___________ Biennial. We are an artists collaborative with the goal of being included in the next ____________ Biennial. Our group is interested in your unique insights regarding the selection process. How do we get in?

The Biennial Project

Knowing that Successful Artists are known for being selfless folks who are always interested in helping out other artists, we expected a high level of response. But the results exceeded even our expectations!

The better to share the useful information we have gleaned from our new Famous Friends, we have reproduced some of the most useful tidbits here.

Now, although The Biennial Project is known for having a good sense of humor and a well-developed creative side, all these email conversations are represented 100% as written, by each artist who we credit here.


First off, Our Friend John Baldessari (Venice Biennale, 2009):


Next, Our Friend Terrence Koh (Whitney Biennial, 2008):


And our Special Friend Tony Conrad (Venice Biennale 2009):


And Our Friend Falke Pisano (Venice Biennale 2009):


And of course Our Friend Ermek Jaenish (Venice Biennale, 2009):


And who could forget Our Friend Nina Berman (Whitney Biennial 2010):


And Our Best Friend Kate Gilmore (Whitney Biennial 2010):


And Lastly, Our Friend Oksana Shatalova (Venice Biennale 2009):



There, now wasn’t that helpful? Click here for lots more:


Art and Capitalism in Venice



Here is a great shot of Laura Rollins from The Biennial Project participating in a sublime guerilla performance art piece on the famed Academia Bridge in Venice during the recent opening week of the Venice Biennale 2011.

The other artist in the piece made replicas of Louis Vuitton purses as a statement on the vapid materialism and low self esteem of The International Tourist – those who spend way too much money on a simple bag decorated with this universally recognized status symbol of great disposable wealth.

You see if you look rich by flaunting your materialism, then you look better then the poor and therefore are treated with better respect. The symbol is meant to say to everyone who is not carrying a Louis Vuitton handbag that it’s owner is better then you, the non-owner, because the owner has more accumulated wealth then the non-owner, you.

The irony of this slyly subversive performance piece is that this bag IS a replica – a ‘knock-off’ - with the joke being that Laura (playing the role of The International Tourist to perfection) bought it for 15 Euros.


Laura is able to continue this artistic collaboration by gauging the reaction of the unknowing public. The pedestrians of the globe will look at this ‘art piece’ and make judgments on Laura, which are incorrect since they do not know that this is not an actual expensive Luis Vuitton bag.

The artistic statement is carried even further by the fact that the Western population knows that it is easy to get a knockoff Louis Vuitton Bag, sullying the shine of the actual real purse owning rich people – those who want to set themselves apart from the have-nots by this materialistic status symbol.

People will assume these people with ‘real’ extravagant means are simply putting on a show and will be questioned as being middle or lower class. The real middle and lower class people carrying the knock offs will go about their day thinking that others think they are more special, hence wealthy. In fact they are revealing their true position in the class structure, because we all know that people can and do buy fake Louis Vuitton pocketbooks.

You see the point that Laura and this ingenious Authentic Venetian Artist are trying to get across is that a knockoff Louis Vuitton purse is really the great equalizer in our modern capitalist society. The middle and lower class, by striving to appear ‘better then’, have brought the people who ‘are better then’ because of greater wealth, down to an equal surface level.


In doing this we can no longer judge people hiding behind their self created exterior status oriented presentation - and we are now able to look deep into their  souls full of insecurities and self doubt (which we all share, no matter what side of the tracks we were brought up on or ascended to).

This is not unlike Mao’s China where the citizens all wore identical uniforms. It made them all appear equal and they were better able to concentrate on more important aspects of life instead of the superficial.  The other parallel between the capitalist symbol of a Louis Vuitton handbag and the Communist China Uniform is that both are compromised designs.

In reality there is no individuality or creativity in either the uniform or the handbag. They are both simple and boring designs that are made to be demographically pleasing to a wide audience. All discerning aspects of design have been marginalized as to not offend or set anything or anyone apart. They both are made so the owner can fit into society by not standing out by their creative souls - but stand only thru the society in which they belong.


Another irony that Laura and this great, yet-to-be famous Authentic Venetian Artist are demonstrating by presenting this particular collaboration is that they are doing at The Venice Biennale during it’s opening week. This is a week where the most creative members of societies around the world are chosen to represent and converge together to for a week of individual expression.

The idea of a Louis Vuitton bag is the most uncreative artistic expression of self one can make. Here Laura and the splendid Authentic Venetian Artist have taken this  uncreative symbol of mass dulling of artistic or individual expression and made it a symbol that can take on new life as a tool to fool the population who don’t “get the joke”- i.e. The International Tourist and other boring people.

All of which proves once again that art provides a rich arena in which to examine the underlying dynamics of our society by re-contextualizing everyday events so as to reveal the truth lurking below, and that the members of The Biennial Project are the right people for the job.

Ciao baby!

Making Friends at The Venice Biennale 2011… Part One.

Among the many benefits of attending Opening Week of The Venice Biennale are invites to fabulous parties, a chance to behold Venice in full flower, free drinks (so very many), lots of gratuitous swag in the form of printed canvas bags, art books and t-shirts…and, well, more parties. As we see it, these perks alone would have made the trip worthwhile. But even more then the material booty that we so love, The Venice Biennial gives us a chance to catch up with old friends, and make new allies with the other world famous artists in attendance. Through these encounters, new ideas are grappled with, collaborations are formed, and sometimes we ‘the creatives’ even get laid. Oh, and there is also some art to look at.

The Biennial Project is so excited by some of our newer associates that we wanted to share with our fans a few snapshots of our new playmates.

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      Anna is pictured here with Navin Rawanchaikul , who originally represented Thailand at VB 2011. Navin has now started  his own nation populated by other citizens named Navin. The Navinland Pavilion is a multifaceted situational environment that challenges perceptions of identity and nationhood. We just loved it, and are planning to request official recognition as a national entity from Navindland  as soon as possible. Also, Navin rocks a plaid blazer better than anyone we know!



      clip_image002[15]Here Eric poses with the representative from his ancestral country of Latvia. The Artist is Kristaps Gelzis - who Eric fantasized to be perfect husband material. Much to Eric’s disappointment he found out that Kristaps is married - to A WOMAN. Anyhow, life must go on despite such truly sad news.


    • Kristap’s work on display at VB 2011, entitled Artificial Peace, was executed in watercolor technique. Using beautifully luminescent water-based acrylic paints, the works introduce the large format series "Contemporary Landscape". The day glow paints under a black light happily reminded us of toking up the teenage basements and the dorm rooms of our youth - but Kristaps did it much cooler. We’re still holding out hope that Kristaps comes to his senses and realizes that he and Eric are meant for each other. [In Latvia the oak and the linden tree are characteristic elements of the landscape. Both trees are still widely used for medical purposes.]



      Here Anna and Laura are caught hamming it up with Princess Lateefa bin Maktoum, representing the UAE. Lateefa’s does not show her face in her beautiful self-portraits nor does she for our snapshots.

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    • Maktoum’s work is largely based in digitally manipulated photography depicting enhanced realities that draw upon her experiences and surroundings. These images contain a strong sense of narrative and often feature solitary female figures set amongst landscapes, which juxtapose nature with urban developments. Lateefa is an avid twitter user so follow her. [Before 1971, the UAE was known as the Trucial States or Trucial Oman, in reference to a 19th-century truce between the United Kingdom and several Arab Sheikhs.]


    • clip_image002[25]It’s always good to celebrate important occasions with friends. Here is Anna with Fernando Prats at the opening reception for The Chilean Pavilion in The Arsenale.

                        Our pal Fernando, in his show entitled Grand Sur, showed three pieces of work: an intervention around the impact of the volcanic eruption in Chaitén (2008); a series of works alluding to the earthquake in south-central Chile (2010); and an installation in neon lettering that reproduces the ad that the Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton  posted circa 1911, calling for men for his expedition to Antarctica. We loved the cool pill-like cage that brought the trapped Chilblain miners back to their loved ones near the entrance of the Arsenale. Fernando, however, didn’t show this. [Just over 3000 species of fungi have been recorded from Chile but this number is far from complete.]

You can see by the the wetness on our faces it was hotter than two rats making love in a wool sock during the reception, but we endured because as the Whitney’s auntie says ‘that’s what friends are for’. That and because we were entranced by the condensation on the hundreds of bottles of fine Chilean wine we were eyeing during the long hot speeches. Why must people talk so much before getting to the drinking?

Now don’t think for even a minute that these are all the famous artists who we hobnobbed with in Venice!  So many more, but that’s a story for the next installment….