Less of Us–Week 1 by Anna Salmeron

Our 25 week Journey to Greatness has commenced!

7 out of 8 of our faithful pilgrims showed up on Saturday to set their goals, discuss past challenges, weigh in, and make some wagers here and there.

Here are the Starting Point photos of Bo, Stephanie, Eric, Melissa, Anna And Diane.

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This week we all are going to focus on being our slightly better selves. We are also going to download an app called WhatsApp to our phones so that we  can have a private platform to keep in touch.

MESSAGE FROM OSCAR:

“This past Saturday I witnessed a group of an incredible people who are ready to commit. Support groups like the one we have will go a very long way and we can only benefit from this process. This may shock you guys but I came out as a different person right after the first session. I heard a lot of powerful stuff and can’t wait to see how everyone will progress.

Wednesdays between 12pm-1pm I am available for calls to discuss and support and give any feedback you need. My phone number is . You can call or text me, whatever works better for you. Just remember, don’t be shy! Ask for what you need.

What I would love to see these upcoming weeks is paying attention to how you practice self care in the moment, and, as people discussed in the meeting, portion-control. I will cover more on how we can work on it. Please feel free to have questions ready so we can discuss as a group.

WhatsApp is the app that would be an additional tool for us discuss and share photos and more. Try to download it to your phone if you haven’t already.”

NEXT MEETING FRIDAY NOVEMBER 9th

6-7:15PM AT 80 BORDER STREET.

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you want to travel with us....... by Anna Salmeron

Photo by Paul Weiner

and you know that we're half crazy, but that's why you want to be there.

As you may have heard, there is this large-ish art exhibition held in Venice once every two years known as the Venice Biennale.

 

And as you may or may not have heard, The Biennial Project hosts a big wonderful artist brigade that attends each Venice Biennale during the head-spinning week of press previews that lead up to the opening.

 

It is SO MUCH DAMN FUN - a chance to hang out with artist friends and get to know new ones in the mesmerizing backdrop of Venice while exploring a mind-bending amount of fascinating contemporary art.

 

And while here is never a shortage of receptions and parties to be had during this wild and crazy week,  just to be sure, The Biennial Project hosts a fantastic reception/gala of our own during the trip to display all the fabulous art work we have accepted into our very own “biennale within a biennale”.

 

We will of course give you more details on how to enter your work in our biennale in the months to come, but we wanted to get word about the trip out now for those intrepid souls who might be interested in going with us and experiencing this one of a kind experience for themselves.

 

Now, perhaps this idea intrigues you but you are thinking “oh come on now you crazy Biennial Project kids, it’s way too early to make plans for a trip so far in advance”. Well, one would think so, except that the Press preview week of the Venice Biennele is SOOO absurdly popular, and attended by so many collectors, gallerists, critics and various VIP-types, that to have any chance of booking a super nice flat close to the proceedings at a reasonable cost, one has to commit, well, yesterday.

 

Our group currently fills TEN absolutely perfect flats super near each other in a great area - over 40 artists so far! We have tentative holds on a few other lovely flats, and are looking to fill them up with old friends and new ones who want to come along for this glorious ride.

 

If you think you might like to go, let us know and we can help guide you thru the process. We will admit to being just a teensy weensy bit obsessed with this – we are the Biennial Project after all – and we have accumulated a fair amount of knowledge on the subject which we are more than happy to share with you. Come on now, live while you can.

 

VENICE CALLING YOU!

 

The Biennial Project blog and website

 

The Biennial Project’s Retirement Plan by Anna Salmeron

Eric – I’ve decided we are going to win Powerball.

          We should have the billion dollars.

          We can move to PR and save every dog there.

          Then summer in the Berkshires and save dogs there.

          And keep a loft in Bushwick and throw big parties.

          And build our own pavilion in Venice.

          Then wonder what happened to all that money 10 years 

          later.

          But look back and smile from our Section 8 on McGrath

          highway.

          And then we’ll spend our ss checks on lottery tickets

          because god will smile on us twice.

          Pennies from heaven…..

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Anna–When is the Powerball drawing?

           It will be a very good 10 years with that money.

           We can have that H&G show help us buy one of our

           houses and call it Performance Art, which of course it is.

           And a house by a river outside of Prague.

           And now that I am thinking, we will need a private

           plane so that our dogs can have an easy flight with us

           as we jet back and forth.

           With our logo painted big on the outside.

           Like the Rolling Stones.

Eric -   It’s going to be a great 9 years.

Anna- I can hardly wait. When do we play?

           And the Cuban dogs need our help too. If this takes us

           down to 8 years I am OK with it.

           Because we will win again.

           And if not, we will always have our ss checks, right?

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Less of US by Venice 2019 by Anna Salmeron

OK, now don’t anybody panic, but this is what we are headed into in Venice.

Mobs of well-dressed, well-presented Europeans, all decked out in their finest art reception outfits.

Not to mention that to get around and see all that is to be seen while there, one needs a pretty high level of aerobic fitness to traverse the one million cobblestone steps of this lovely, elegant city.

You see where this is going don’t you? If not, look at the pictures for a moment and it will come to you.

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Now you get it right?

Yep, we must work on ourselves a little by then to get the most out of this trip, and to have any hope of a Successful Presentation of Self while there.

Two options here:

1) Admit that this is the truth, and make vague promises to oneself to work on this as possible, etc., etc., and as usual do too little too late and later regret this course of action.

2) DO something fun and helpful (and arty!) and feel fabulous and strong and prepared for your most flattering clothes in Venice and have the best time ever, and be be proud of yourself for having taken action at a crucial moment.

We know from years of personal experience that this is a tough choice, but this time we are hoping to go for option 2, and you can too.

So now, without further ado, we present to you in more detail:

OPTION TWO

A 25 week program (beginning in November and finishing right before we go to Venice) to support us all in reaching our individual personal body/mind goals. Goals could include weight loss, increased aerobic capacity, improved muscle strength and balance – each person will set their own goals. To help each participant achieve their goals, the program will include:

Weekly 1.5 hour group meetings that will include weigh ins (for those who want them), setting of goals for coming week and review of successes and challenges in previous week, 30 minutes exercise of some kind, and a brief closing meditation. Classes will be led by Oscar E Cruz, a truly amazing trainer and lifestyle coach who has helped MANY people reach their fitness goals. Class to be held at 80 Border Street in East Boston.

Frequent communication to and from Oscar during the week to help us learn and stay on track. This will include a weekly newsletter to the group as well as info targeted to each participant’s needs and struggles, and access to Oscar to ask fitness or workout questions.

Membership in a FB group where we will share info and encouragement.

For those who want, the opportunity to participate in the performance art aspect of this group project. This part is totally optional and we will not share any info on participants who would rather not do this. But if you are into it, a fun opportunity to chart our progress via pics, videos, charts – we are a creative group so the possibilities here are endless.

The cost for this whole program is $250 per participant – which figures out to be only $10 per week. This is a steal for this kind of coaching program. We know not everyone involved will be able to come to every meeting, but if you are away or can’t come – you can still call or skype in to the meeting to give us your update and get feedback.

We have only 12 spots in the program to make sure that everyone gets the personalized support that we need.

So far Anna, Bo, Stephanie, Melissa are committed, and several others are probable.  SO, what’s it to be? Are you in?

Less of US Introduction

The Biennial Project’s ongoing collaboration with Tony Conrad by Anna Salmeron

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Don’t you just love it when you hear that a long-time artistic collaborator is having a major retrospective at a prestigious local institution, and you get to stop by and enjoy their unique contributions to the art world once again? While drinking good wine for a change?

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Such was the case last night at the opening of the Tony Conrad exhibit at MIT’s List Center. Entertaiment was had, and it was great to get to know this artist’s overall body of work, since we had previously known him mostly from his input on a joint project.

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The Biennial Project first had the pleasure of working with Tony (who went by the moniker tOny to his closest friends) in 2010 in our seminal Advice from Artists Who Have Made It series. tOny’s contribution to this series is excerpted below:

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XXOO,

The Biennial Project

P.S. Watch US playing with one of Tony’s cool toys at the opening

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P.S.S. Seriously, go see this show if you can.

Less of Us– Chronicles of The Biennial Project’s Journey to Greater Outer Fabulousness! by Anna Sameron

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   As Biennial Project Artists, it almost goes without saying that our Inner Selves are right On Target, and do not need improvement. 

But, it must be said, our current outer selves are not entirely in alignment with our Inner Fabulousness.

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And Outer Fabulousness is obviously important in the Art World.  When projecting an image of Brooding Genius and Much-Hipper-than-Thou Coolness, the packaging really needs to support the product.

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Because art is nothing if not a search life’s Fundamental Truths, and the truth is that no one wants to look at fat ugly people. This is why, in commercials and movies about artists, the artists are always Thin And Gorgeous.

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We however, unlike many lesser artists before us, are not going to let our lack of complete physical perfection hold us back.

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Instead, we have embarked upon a Bold Campaign of Self-Perfectification which we call are proud to introduce to you as Less of Us - The Biennial Project Guide to Better LivingTM.

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The Less of UsTM project has recently taken on an added urgency since we have been selected to host a group of Famous International Artists for a Fabulous Week-Long Art-and Party-Saturated Bacchanal at the 2011 Venice Biennale.  We just MUST be perfect by then!

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We will Set Sail for Venice in a mere three months from today (gulp!) – dare we say it – we must lose 45 lbs. in 90 days!

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Yes, we can, and we must say it here aloud for all the world to hear we must shout it from the rooftops -

WE WILL EAT LESS,

WE WILL LIVE BETTER,

AND WE WILL EXERCISE MORE!

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             STAY TUNED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

WILL PAINT FOR FOOD! (Squeegee Punks Spotlight Neighborhood Gentrification)

Squeegee people were the one of the many signs of the chaos, disorder and decay of our society in the 1970s - caused by a poor economy and a system of government that was failing it's people — and now they’re making a comeback.

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Only this time, the squeegee people are present because of a severe inequality of wealth manifesting itself with inflated real estate prices and the cost of housing and insurance. This time the Squeegee Punks are the artist group known as The Biennial Project, and they spraying your windshields for ‘donations’ in the hope of holding on a little longer in the city of Boston.

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Imagine if you will that you have paid $1,500 to get a ticket to the opening gala of the Institute of Contemporary Art's new annex in East Boston. It's in a neighborhood you probably have never been to and only associate with the airport. You put on your best pastel summer outfit and hop into your uber, which delivers you to a foreign location right in your own city. You are pleased with yourself for supporting the arts and looking forward to a really great sunset party on Boston Harbor. You come out of the tunnel and see a lively and pleasant, albeit dilapidated, neighborhood right on the water with beautiful parks and turn of the century architecture. You start to picture the real estate bargain and the quick appreciation it will turn once they clean the neighborhood up and open that Starbucks and Whole Foods.

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Then Boom! Your uber is blocked and you are accosted by a merry band of artists dressed in yellow, lead by the renowned East Boston artist group The Biennial Project. They are attacking your windows from all sides with spray wash and soapy water. These yellow bandits are actually washing your windows like you saw in the inner city in the 1970s. They are yelling things like ‘Make Art, not Condos!', ‘Buy art, not hors d'oeuvres!’ They have written slogans such as '$ for Artist Anti Displacement Fund’ and ‘Will paint for food’ on their wash rags.

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Oh my, what kind of a neighborhood is this? What do they want? Do they mean to harm you? Do they want your money (well maybe). No, what the Biennial Project wants is to be able to let artists stay in the city they call home. The Biennial Project wants to bring to light that we are losing the soul of Boston to real estate developers and the wealthy. The Biennial Project means to demonstrate this by borrowing one of symbols of urban decay of the past century - The Squeegee Bandits. And yes, maybe The Biennial Project wants you, the wealthy, well-meaning art patron, to feel a little bit uncomfortable in your bourgie ways.

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The Biennial Project, whose roots are in East Boston, have been witnessing fellow artists being chased out of our gentrifying neighborhood at a rapid pace. The artists, who have been here for at least a few decades, are one of the many reasons developers have been selling East Boston as the new hot spot to live. How ironic that we contributed to making the neighborhood desirable and now many of us can’t afford to stay here.

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   Where will we be in 15 years?

 

SEE THE SQUEEGEE PUNKS IN ACTION HERE!

 

The Squeegee Punks as performed at the ICA Watershed Gala by The Biennial Project Summer Players - Anna Salmeron, Audrina Warren, Charlene Liska, Emily Jansen, Eric Hess, Michael St. Germain, Paul Weiner, Roman Edirisinghe, and Vicki Schepps. Video by Charlene Liska. Photos by Paul Weiner, Michael St. Germain, and Charlene Liska.

 

 

In Bed with Nonardo by Anna Salmeron

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The Biennial Project was honored to be chosen  for the 00Bienal de La Habana, the first Cuban art biennial to be organized independently of any state entity. We went to partake this past May. Within minutes of arriving at our hotel in Havana we immediately found ourselves in one of those 1950s cars you see in the tourist books about Cuba and we were on our way to our first 00Bienal de La Habana event. We gave our taxi driver the address and he did not seem 100% sure where it was and we, for certain, did not know where we were going. We were unclear even if we were going to a gallery, someone’s studio or someone’s house. None-the-less, we enjoyably buzzed through the colorful, modernist, somewhat run down streets of Havanna and we were thrilled to be in Cuba for this event. The closer we got to the venue the less certain our taxi driver was that this is where we wanted to be in this particular neighborhood. It wasn’t until we saw 4 women dressed, in what seemed to us as art gallery opening attire, did we know we had indeed arrived to find our community.

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We entered through a courtyard where one of the artist’s homes is located. His house was going to be the main venue for showing, It was a lively, positive atmosphere and the local neighbors mixed well with the artists for a festive art reception. That artist whose home we were inhabiting was the alluring and luminous Nonardo Perea. We had recently friended Nonardo on Facebook and he was one of the artists we most wanted to meet. This evening we also met the organizers Yanelys Nuñez Leyva and Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara and they could not have been more hospitable, engaging, charismatic and attractive.

Nonardo presented his work on the walls of his house in every room. We enjoyed walking into his bedroom and admit to peeping into his closet. We noticed illustrations we enjoyed on his refrigerator and later in the night he actually gave them to us as gifts. A lot of Nonardo’s work revolved around gay and transsexual themes and he expressed this through some scintillating manipulated photos, collages, illustrations and even a video. Most of them, he used him self as the model. We were floored. We loved his work as much as we knew we would love him. He also has two of the cutest dogs you may ever run across.

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Another artist showing this evening was Francisco Mëndez. His performance involved locking himself in the bathroom and shouting ‘Ya me canse’ at the top of his lungs over and over again while the reception went on outside of the bathroom, in Nonardo’s bedroom. Ya me canse means ‘I’m tired of this’ which is in reference to what a Mexican Police chief said while looking for the bodies of missing people. It is what the Mexican people think over and over and feel nobody hears them. It was a very powerful enactment.

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Also worth mentioning was the fact that the participants of this Bienal were harassed by the government of Cuba. The Cuban artists were subject to arrests, interrogations and threats. We met an artist there that night who was originally supposed to be in the Bienal but pulled out in the last minute in fear of threats he received about his employment. Cuba is not an easy place to express oneself.

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It was fantastic party. The hosts of 00Bienal de La Habana could not have been warmer or more welcoming. Never letting our glasses be less the half full, checking on us, engaging us in conversation, introducing us around. They basically shared their lives with us. We also rejoiced in the fact that we were in a real Cuban neighborhood., one tourists probably never entertain to visit. We bought tamales from a bucket, walked around the neighborhood and almost got into a game of domino with some of the older men in the streets.

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3 Cuban Artists You Need to Know - 3 Artistas Cubanos que Debe Conocer by Anna Salmeron

We were honored to participate in the recent 00Bienal de La Habana, and thrilled to begin friendships with the amazing artists who organized it. We hope to continue to collaborate with them in as many ways as possible. To begin this process, we would like to share with our audience a series of interviews we are doing with three of them. First question:

Fue un honor de participar en el reciente 00Bienal de La Habana, y nos sintimos emocionados de comenzar amistades con los artistas  con los artistas increibles que la organizaron. Esperamos seguir colaborando con ellos de la mayor cantidad de maneras posibles. Para comenzar este proceso, nos gustaría compartir con nuestro público una serie de entrevistas que hacemos ahora con tres de ellos. Primera pregunta:

WHY DO YOU MAKE ART?

POR QUE USTED HACE EL ARTE?*

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara answers:

Art has been with me since I was a child. Even without knowing about the art world, I gave shape to different materials - imitating what was around me.

My desire to be famous, and to break with the reality of deprivation and violence in which I lived led me to practice sports from childhood through adolescence.

But there was something that I was missing deeper than being good or not in athletics. My concern for people and my desire to improve the world a little bit caused the first break with my sports career.

Later it was the discovery of the world, language and power of art. From that moment of symbiosis I began a continuous aesthetic experimentation coupled with an insatiable struggle for human improvement. Searches that after all were based in that profound passion - the capacity and the possibility to manipulate  the visual.

Art is the prism through which all my horrors, mistakes, depressions, loves and my activism for people pass.

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Respuesta de Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara:

El arte me acompaña desde niño. Sin tener conciencia del mundo del arte le daba formas a diferentes materiales imitando lo que me rodeaba.

Mi deseo de ser famoso, y de romper con la realidad de carencias y violencias en la que vivía me llevaron a practicar deportes desde la niñez hasta la adolescencia, pero había algo que me faltaba más allá de que pudiese ser bueno o no en el atletismo.

Mi preocupación por el ser humano y me deseo de mejorar un poco el mundo, generó la primera ruptura con mi carrera deportiva. Luego fue el descubrimiento del mundo, el lenguaje y el poder del arte.

A partir de ese momento de simbiosis comencé una continua experimentación estética aparejada por una insaciable lucha por el mejoramiento humano. Búsquedas que al final se encontraban en esa pasión profunda, que era la habilidad y la posibilidad de manipulación de la visualidad.

El arte es un punto donde pasan todos mis horrores, errores, depresiones, amores y mi activismo en pro de las personas.

Yanelys Nuñez Leyva answers:

Art is my motivation. The incredible possibility of human beings to be creative seems to me superior to our self-destructive desire, so I try to be as close to our cultural production, to be part of that medium that I feel proud and at ease.

Art is beauty as well as a continuous questioning of reality. To contribute to it’s struggles, it’s improvement and it’s promotion allows me to enjoy life and to be an active character in the world.

The human being can transform and ennoble society through art, and for this reason all support becomes necessarily insufficient.

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Respuesta de Yanelys Nuñez Leyva

El arte es mi móvil. La increíble posibilidad del ser humano de ser creativo me parece superior a su afán autodestructivo, por eso trato de estar lo más cerca de su producción cultural, de ser parte de ese medio del que me siento orgullosa y a gusto.

El arte es belleza a la vez que es continuo cuestionamiento de la realidad. Contribuir a sus luchas, a su mejoramiento, a su promoción, me permite disfrutar la vida a la vez que ser un personaje activo del mundo.

El ser humano puede transformar y ennoblecer la sociedad a través del arte por esto todo el apoyo se hace insuficiente, necesario.

Nonardo Parea answers:

"Since I was a child I always believed that my life would have to be somehow connected to art, that is why in my career I have made art as much as was possible - it is something that I have within me, and that is necessary for me. For me the artistic process, influencing my way of seeing things, is so necessary that creativity nourishes me as a food, if I didn’t make art I would not survive. Art helps me to free my demons, that is why I have worked in different media, such as photography, literature, audiovisual, acting and performance. I have always been interested in everything that has to do with the creative, and being an artist somehow makes me feel like a better human being, and much more free, even if I am not.

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Repuesta de Nonardo Parea

"Desde niño siempre creí que mi vida tendría que estar de alguna manera ligada al arte, es por eso que en mi trayectoria he realizado arte de acuerdo a mis posibilidades, es algo que llevo dentro de mi, y de lo que tengo necesidad, para mí los procesos artísticos, influyen en mi forma de ver las cosas, es tan necesaria la creatividad que me sirve como un alimento, si no hago arte no vivo, me ayuda a liberar mis demonios, es por ello que he trabajado en diferentes  modalidades, como la fotografia, la literatura, el audiovisual, la actuación y el performance. Siempre he estado interesado en todo lo que tenga que ver con lo creativo, y ser artista de algún modo me hace sentir ser un mejor ser humano, y mucho más libre, aunque no lo sea.

Hear are The Biennial Project 00Bienal de La Habana Artist Trading Cards we did for these 3 wonderful artists:

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CARTA ABIERTA DE LA 00BIENAL DE LA HABANA

OPEN LETTER FROM THE 00BIENAL DE LA HABANA

Todo lo bueno de esta traducción vino de Laura Torres, el resto es de Anna Salmeron.