The William Forsythe Exhibition at the ICA by Emily Dugle and Mark Hoffman

by Emily Dugie and Mark Hoffman

Q: So Emily, we hear there's a cool new show at the Institute of Contemporary Art here in Beantown. Have you seen it yet?

A: The William Forsythe Exhibition? I have! It was so incredible; I've gone back to see it twice.

Q. Wow Emily - you are truly impressive! We consider it an accomplishment to get to the good shows here once - twice is setting the bar pretty high. The ICA says about this exhibit that "Forsythe has developed installations, sculptures, and films that he calls Choreographic Objects. Blurring the lines between performance, sculpture, and installation, his Choreographic Objects invite the viewer to engage with the fundamental ideas of choreography." I have to admit that while I think dance is beautiful and all, I have no idea whatsoever what the fundamental ideas of choreography might be. Can you tell us some of your impression of the show?


A: I have never been a dancer, and my only preconception of choreography itself is a organized routine that is followed step by step. Forsythe seems to take a different view of choreography in his installation. Not something the is practiced, and memorized, but something more internal and reactionary. Natural movements of the body in response to inner and outer stimulus. It encouraged a youthful exuberance from all the attendees I witnessed and promoted an atmosphere of playfulness while, at the same time, leading the participants to think about the movement of their bodies and others. 


Q: OK, I am convinced. Group playfulness is a subject in entirely too short supply in today's world and especially in the ever-so-serious art world. And being prodded to think about the movement of our bodies alone and in concert with others seems to me to get at some deep body-centeredness that we have in childhood and lose somewhere along the line. You really make me want to see this show! Could you tell us about or describe one specific interactive thing within the installation that you liked? If I promise I will stop peppering you with questions soon?

A: My favorite installation within the exhibit was one that, the first time I went, no one noticed. It was an installation that was built into the museum walls. It had the appearance of someone slicing a 2 ft high gap into the bottom of the wall with the recess going back perhaps 15-20 feet. The first time I crawled into the opening, everyone else simply continued to walk past not noticing the hidden alcove. Laying on my back and watching the feet of the patrons walk past, I was amazed that such a confined space could feel so open and unrestricted. This probably had to do with the fact that I was only inside for a handful of minutes. 


The second time I went to view the installation, the hidden space was well known, and it was full of laughter and people experimenting with different ways of moving around the space. The museum attendant was pointing out different ways people had found of entering and exiting that involved sliding and rolling as opposed to crawling to spare the knees of the patrons.

It was amazing the difference the space had when I was alone vs. when it was full of twisting bodies. 

Q: Thanks so much to Emily Dugie and Mark Hoffman for this interview and photos – you have convinced us that we MUST get off this sofa and go see this show!!!


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


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?


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.


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:




The Biennial Project

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


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

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:



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.


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.


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.


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:






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

Response to the Dana Schutz Controversy by Joe Lewis, Artist

ANNA, MAR 25TH, 9:39AM Hi Joe I hope you are well! This is Anna Salmeron from The Biennial Project. You entered work for our upcoming show - which we love. I am writing to you because I have been thinking about the controversy at the Whitney Biennial in NYC. I would like to put together a post of artists of color giving their thoughts related to this controversy. Would you be willing to write something on this subject? What do you think?

JOE, MAR 26TH, 1:42PM Joe Lewis accepted your request. I like the idea. Count me in. what are your next steps?

ANNA, MAR 26TH, 3:54PM Great!!! Write what you think, and send it to us with any info about how you would like us to introduce you and any links to your work that you would like to have included. Here are a couple of articles on the controversy:

HYPERALLERGIC: Protesters Block, Demand Removal of a Painting of Emmett Till at the Whitney Biennial

ARTNET: Social Media Erupts as the Art World Splits in Two Over Dana Schutz Controversy

JOE, MAR 27TH, 4:39PM The following thoughts crystallized for me after reading Brian Boucher’s balanced March 24, 2017 piece on the controversy, “Social Media Erupts as the Art World Splits in Two Over Dana Schutz Controversy,” and then scrolling down to read the Artnet piece that followed “Turkish Artist Zehra Doğan Sentenced to Prison for Painting of Kurdish Town Attack. Doğan has been given a sentence of 2 years and 10 months by a Turkish court. [ ARTNET: Turkish Artist Zehra Doğan Sentenced to Prison for Painting of Kurdish Town Attack  ]

How close are we to that?

I oppose censorship in all of its forms but am inclined to open conversation and dialog.

However, this doesn’t negate the fact that the non-artist-of-color enjoys access, place, and creative privilege.

But let’s not assume the worst characteristics of the oppression – erasure, and suppression.

Joe Lewis, Artist (I am uncomfortable attaching any additional info/images/website about my work to this statement because the issue is not about me. ) Regards, Joe

ANNA, MARCH 27TH, 8:46PM Wow, Joe, this is perfect and very thoughtful. Thanks so much.

Chat Conversation End

WE ARE HORRIFIED by Anna Salmeron and Eric Hess

Plain and simple, The Biennial Project, an American based artist collaborative and the coordinators of ArtVenice Biennale IV, are completely and utterly disgusted by the actions of our President and his administration. 

We are and will continue to do whatever we are humanly capable of to resist the new regime that has taken leadership of our country. 

WE ARE HORRIFIED at the travel ban our new president has put into place against  the 7 countries targeted - so far.

This is not what we as Americans ever believed could happen in the USA.

We, The Biennial Project, want to stand in peaceful solidarity with ALL international artists of ALL countries and ALL religions.

We invite any artists from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria. Libya, Somalia and Yemen to enter ArtVenice Biennale IV at no cost. We waive your entry fee. Please share your art with us.

Enter at

The Biennial Project knows that this doesn’t even come close to an amend for the insult and heartache our new president and his administration have slapped on the citizens of these countries.

We just want to let you know that, artist to artist, human to human, we  appreciate you, celebrate you, and love you.








PLEASE ENTER, with your fee waived, ArtVenice Biennale IV.

170129030215-protest-travel-ban-jfk-large-169 (1)

An American Artist in Cuba by Anna Salmeron


[EDITORS NOTE: The Biennial Project is Legion we are so damned many – so of course we have a Cool Artist Correspondent reporting back from his Artist Residency in the Very HOT HOT HOT location of Havana Cuba that so many people are interested in lately. Here we are proud to present you artist Clint Imboden’s first person account of his just completed trip.]


I am heading to Cuba on September 30th for an 18 days artist residency at the Bustamante Studio in Havana. I will be sending regular updates for The Biennial Project to post on their website. First a little about me, Cuba, and my connection to the Biennial Project.


I am a sculptor and installation artist out of Oakland, CA. I use repurposed materials in all of my art. My typical day includes hunting for material at local flea markets and estate sales. I exhibit regularly in the Bay Area, and have exhibited around the US as well as in South America and Europe. You can see my work at Cuba provides me with the opportunity to find new materials for making art and to exhibit that art in completely new venues.

Ever since president Obama relaxed travel to Cuba, I have wanted to go and see Cuba before it changes. Through a conversation with a long-time friend and artist, I found out that her daughter (a really nice painter is married to a Cuban and has a connection to a contemporary gallery in Havana. Many phone calls, text messages and emails later, I was able to arrange this residency. It all happened within two months. There is hope that this residency will become an opportunity open to other artists.


My connection with The Biennial Project goes back to 2012 when I found a call for entry about getting work seen during the Art Venice Biennale in 2013. I figured this was worth the entry fee! and entered and ended up winning the grand prize.

[From The Biennial Project’s review of Clint’s work: “As good red-blooded Americans, we were first seduced by his gorgeous series of resin-based pieces titled Colors of War. Luscious, candy-colored, lethal. Perfection. Can we get fries with with that?” Read more of our review here: Grand Prize Winner of The 2013 ArtVenice Biennale Announced]

So started my relationship with Anna and the rest of the crew there. For a couple years I’d read about their antics, travels and other adventures when an email would pop up in my inbox from them. I kept them on my radar and one day I got an email asking if anyone wanted to go with them to the Biennale in Venice next spring. Figuring that these insane artists would be fun to see art with, I jumped at the opportunity. But, I had to back out because of a conflict with my son’s wedding. What is a father to do, art or family? This time family won out. But this recent contact with Anna turned into a phone call and I talked to her about my upcoming trip to Cuba, and she asked me to scope out the art scene. Told her about the next Biennale in Havana in 2018 and of course she was interested in seeing it they could have the Biennial Project on the road south. So I have a few of missions while in Havana:

  • Scope out galleries for my work
  • Make connections with people connected to the Biennial in hopes of being asked to participate, and
  • See if there’s a place for the Biennial Project in Cuba.


Sunday night Sept 25 – will leave for Cuba Thursday afternoon. Starting to put together what I will bring to make art. Five kinds of glue: wood glue, white epoxy, clear epoxy, super glue, super glue jell. 30 lbs nylon coated stainless steel line. A variety of ceiling hardware. Now I need to think about tools. But nothing that could by itself be used to make art. I am gong to leave it to the streets and people of Havana to find my direction and scope of materials. I have already been told about a house full of wood. I have asked for more details. I have also been told about the infrequent trash pick up. I am only taking glue, hanging hardware and tools. You will see first here what I find and what I do with it. I have a couple of different directions in mind. Four days and counting. It is hard to believe that it is almost here. Means I finished my big installation at the new Hyatt Place being built in Emeryville, CA. Spent over a year working on this piece and 50 hours+ to install it. But that is a while different story, except the big opening party will be shortly after I get back from Cuba.


My residency in Cuba had started off on an ominous note. The suitcase that was carrying all the tools and supplies I had carefully organized was taken by another passenger and his suitcase left for me. By the time this individual realized he had taken the wrong suitcase I was on my flight to Havana. Thinking at the time not everything was lost, the staff at baggage claim assured me that my bag when returned would be on the next flight to Havana. They were wrong, because of the lingering affects of the 50 year old pissing match between the US and Cuba my bag would not be joining me. My hope ended with the prayer that my bag would be waiting for me in Miami when I next returned to the US; even that not being a sure thing in my mind. 

At first being distracted by not only being in a country where I did not speak the language and without the comfort of my own tools, I wondered the streets of Havana like any of the other aimless tourist I saw. I finally found a plaza where venders sold the remnants of Cuba's past. I immediately felt home and started to scavenge, barter and collect similar materials as I have collected for years at home. Only to realize when I got them back to the studio, I was still in the same predicament as I was when I got off the plane. Without my tools and especially without the five kinds of glue I brought, I had a great little pile of Cuban history and no way to turn it into "my art." Back to being a tourist again, I continued to eat drink and walk, without really accomplishing anything.

At the end of the first week I was really no closer than I was when I stepped off the plane to accomplishing any of the grand goals I had set for myself from the comfort of my home. During our many walks through our new neighborhood and the streets of Havana, one thing screamed at me from every where: This is a poor country. The average person here uses and reuse and then uses again everything until it is beyond use. I saw men straightening nails so they could be reused, metal frame chairs with plastic bags woven to replace lost seats, and of course the many pre-revolutionary American cars that in the states would have long ago been over grown in some abandoned junkyard. The volume of material to choose from which I was accustomed to was nowhere to be found. 

Cuba had been inching its way into my brain without me realizing it. I started to realize my American arrogance had gotten the best of me; I had planned on making my American art out of Cuban materials. To make work that was within my comfort zone. I realized the materials really did not matter; it was my process that was at the center of whatever work I have ever done.  My work has really always been about process--about finding that hidden element in a piece of material that when highlighted changed how people saw it, bringing a fresh and sometimes thought-changing experience to the viewer. I had just finished a year-long commission where I was tasked to come up with a concept for a hanging sculpture that could only be fabricated out of used bicycle which I managed to accomplish rather beautifully if I so myself. With this new found mindset and a new set of constraints, I began the real beginning of my residency in Cuba.

The next morning I began what will be my morning ritual for the remainder of my time here; going to the rocky edge of the sea which is just across the street from my temporary home for materials. Finding a new use for material beyond the use of even the average Cuban. After a couple hours I brought home the first of what I hope will be many plastic bags full of bits of broken pottery, shards of sea glass, tangled pieces of different color wire and anything else that caught my eye. I also started to soak pieces of thin wood I found while going through an abandoned house on my block in a small back wash of sea water to see if they would be soft enough to bend.

I have no idea what if anything will come out of this. Maybe just a larger pile of trash that I will leave behind. If anything, Cuba has forced me to rethink my craft, that I will take with me.


Saturday 10-1-16. On our own now we went to old Havana to check out an art gallery I found online. Factoria Habana. The term gallery seems to mean museum here. It is described as: “Factoría Habana is an experimental center for present-day artistic creation. The institution, which is ascribed to the City Historian’s Office, seeks to become a bridge between Latin American and European art”. The current exhibition is titled "In the silence of Duchamp". Some images from the exhibition:




Found a flea market in Havana at plaza de Armas the other day and went back today for serious foraging for material. Came home with 5 Christs without crosses, 9 soviet era pins and 2 arm banners. Also found a couple of old shoe soles in an abandoned building. I need at least a couple more Christs. The vendor said she would have more tomorrow.


While out scavenging through abandon houses around where we are staying for material to use we stopped into the local grocery story, very small, to see what we could find.
We have beer from Holland, crackers from Vietnam, water both still and carbonated from Cuba, Pepsi from Ecuador, orange sofa from Honduras, and strawberry yogurt from Spain all for $9.50 CUC almost equivalent to US $$, the yogurt was the most expensive for $2.20, followed by the crackers for $2.15.




One of my pieces in Cuba. Now I need to figure out how to attach Christ to the discarded shoe soles. Going to the Havana Art University tomorrow to check to see if I can work there. I am hopeful I will get 3-4 other pieces made. Have the material but need tools to put it all together.



Another piece that I completed yesterday. Beautiful weathered orange wood, found as is at an abandoned house, faucet from the ocean and the small Lenin pin from the flea market. Usually drilling the hole would have taken me less than a minute, but not here. Did have a cordless drill but the largest bit was a very worn 1/4 inch bit, so I had to carve the rest of the hole with my X-Acto knife, about an hour of work.



My final of 4 pieces is almost complete. I just need to seal the top so the sea water can not leak out. The wood came from an abandoned house, it appears to have been part of a crib. The wire is from the ocean, as are all the coins in the bottle and of course the sea water. The old small medical bottle was the only piece purchased. The coins were all found this morning along about 1/4 mile of shore and about an hour and 1/2 of searching. There is no beach, it is all rocky, looks like old volcanic rock. Without shoes, your feet would be shredded. The working tittle is "success".



A recap of my 18 days in Habana, Cuba. Pretty damn cool. Great people, cheap food and drink. Did get tired of little fruit, no green vegetables, and especially no salads. $1.50 beer and $2.00 Mojitos and Daiquiris. The art I saw was interesting, but nothing earth shattering. Found a very cool venue; Factoria Habana, cool old building, 3 floors contemporary work, would love to exhibit there, maybe next year. [EDITORS NOTE: This would also be a fantastic venue for the Inaugural Biennial Project ArtCuba Bienal, NO LES PARECE?]

Making art started out as a very big challenge which ultimately lead me to do four pieces of new work that I am very excited about. Exposed to new artists and gallery people, which is always good; especially when they offer to show your work and represent you in Habana.

Brought home some really nice run (4 bottles) different grades. Really good cigars at dirt cheap prices. [EDITORS NOTE: Havana Club?!?!?!?!?!?!?! OMFG, you’re killing us here. While it is true that some members of The Biennial Project do not drink, some of us most unquestionably do drink and are just extraordinarily fond of Havana Club. Just saying.]


Very cool flea market, limited items, a little pricey at times, but I was already being know by a couple of the venders I bought more than once from, just like home. Very interesting trash, found most of my material in abandoned buildings or the ocean.

Looking forward to going back. Hopefully spend some time outside of Habana. I have been told the south shore is diving heaven.  I would love to go back to work again next year, maybe for a little longer. I am definitely going back in 2018 for the next Bienal. Hopefully with my work being exhibited somewhere.

Cuba ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of five.

What to know more, track me down. The more positive talk about the arts there the better. Contemporary art is only going to go in one direction there ⬆️⬆️⬆️.

Clint Imboden, October 2016

[LAST EDITORS NOTE WE PROMISE: OK dudes, we must get a group together and go down to the 2018 Bienal de La Habana! COME ON – LIFE IS SHORT!


(If truth be told, this would reputedly not be the first trip to Cuba for some members of TBP. Some members of TBP reputedly visited Cuba several times, and mixed generous amounts of Havana Club with their Cuban coffee, long before this was a fashionable or legal thing to do. Just goes to show that TBP is always ahead of the curve on all important matters. And incapable of following our lawyers’ advice on almost any question. But back to the subject, LET’S GO TO CUBA IN 2018!!!

XXOO, The Biennial Project]



Boston Biennial 4 Wrap Up by Anna Salmeron

“The Boston Biennial 4 delivered an evocative and inspiring selection of art of various types of mediums and styles…..Atlantic Works Gallery was bursting with people, compassion and excitement at it’s opening for the Boston Biennial 4 and it’s no question as to why: when the people in charge are just as engaged as the artists involved, it makes for perfect harmony.”  Ali Russo, Artscope Magazine

“The Biennial Project's commitment to building connections between artists here and elsewhere is utterly refreshing. To see them and their collaborators at work is to see artists at the top of their game - working without the net of institutional support, but obviously having a hell of a good time in the process - and nurturing personal and working relationships and networks that feel downright subversive in this day and age.” Alec Onsemska, film-maker and art critic


As you can see from the quotes above, the recently wrapped Boston Biennial 4 was both a resounding success and a rip-roaring good time. We attracted by far the most entries yet for a Boston Biennial, and the quality and diversity of the artwork submitted was staggering. The entire process leading up to the show was the most streamlined ever, what with our master collaborator and web designer Paul K. Weiner creating a sparkling new entry and jurying system for us which automated the process from start to finish. This saved us tons of time over our previous process and let us focus on the fun stuff - assembling an amazing crew of celebrity jurors, communicating with artists worldwide, pouring over the vast amount of great art submitted, and publicizing the show.


Artists traveled from around the country to attend the many packed gala receptions, and the response to the show was thoroughly positive. Now that the show has wrapped, we're just  the littlest bit tired, but absolutely thrilled with the caliber of great art that we got to showcase, and with the amazing people that we got to meet. Now we will enjoy a good 10 minutes of rest before getting back to work.  In the meantime, here are some links to info about this fabulous show:




blogal1AL HARDEN








blognayda1NAYDA CUEVAS







blogswarm1LEIGH HALL






Disrupting the Art World One Biennial at a Time by Anna Salmeron

Reflections on the Boston Biennial 4

by Alec X. Onsemska


Ozgur Ozlem When Children Die They Do Not Grow”, photo by Jeff Smith

“Just as another New England spring begins to awaken us from our winter doldrums, the local art world phenomenon known as the Boston Biennial is setting up shop in town again.

A little history here first. The Boston Biennial was born a few years back as a shrewd experiment in biennial branding by the envelope-pushing local art collective The Biennial Project - a group of conceptual artists whose organizing principle involves "exploring the underlying dynamics of who gets validation from the art world apparatus and why." A meaty starting point for conceptual art work if there ever was one.  As one critic has noted about The Biennial Project's work -  "it succeeds in moving on two planes simultaneously - unmasking both the appeal and the hollowness of success in an arena often dominated by players with a financial stake in promoting their own artist and venues - and in the process delivers an exhilaratingly gonzo field trip into the internal landscape of artistic consciousness."

Being a child of The Biennial Project, the Boston Biennial has from the beginning embodied a dichotomous soul - walking a tight rope between self referential art world in-joke on the pretensions inherent in the biennial system and an embodiment of a different model for artist engagement that is profoundly more democratic and artist centered.  It's a heady concoction, with notes from Berlin to the Paris Commune in the mix, and in the hands of lesser talents, this house of mirrors might just collapse under the weight of it's multi-layered concept.

But collapse it does not, and this is a testimony to the unusually broad skill sets of the member artists. In addition to expansive abilities to riff on the comic and the ridiculous aspects inherent in their Boston Biennial construct, they also have in their arsenal a very sophisticated gaze and a vigorous engagement with the issues of the day - both within and outside the art world. And the current incarnation of their Boston Biennial is the purest dilution yet of the artistic concerns of this of this group of inspired art-world disruptors.

The Boston Biennial 4 skews  to punchy and well-executed examples of process driven and socially engaged installation and conceptual art, informed by the groups deep immersion in cutting edge international art (gleaned from their peripatetic existence traveling within the rarefied world of the top-level biennial circuit). But by demanding that work in this category be both really smart and well-executed, the group drives home the potent point that conceptual art only really works when you have a concept worth investigating, and when you do it well. Art world, are you listening?

And they make a further trenchant point about the limitations inherent in current accepted categories of circuit-worthy art by insisting on an exuberant embrace of unfettered visual pleasure wherever they may find it - gleefully welcoming into their tent a good deal of strong work in mediums and orientations currently out of vogue at the top. By recognizing a lively abundance of strong photography, painting, and drawing, none of it designed in the least to argue it's own obsolescence, The Biennial Project continues it's incisive ability to simultaneously absorb the best of current art-world trends while rising above it's follies.

They succeed in bringing together a bountiful array of successful art being made by Boston based artists - and in so present a gutsy refutation to the inferiority complex that infects our local institutions vis-a-vis art made by artists who call Boston home. Recently a curator of a major Miami museum was interviewed about the benefits of the annual Art Basel decampment in that city, and stated enthusiastically that it represented a great opportunity to provide a platform for all the great art being made by Miami-based artists. Can anyone imagine one of the curators of a major Boston art institution making a comparable statement in that circumstance? We didn't think so.

The Boston Biennial 4 also includes much gorgeous and successful work from a diverse group of artists based around the country and the world. The Biennial Project's commitment to building connections between artists here and elsewhere is utterly refreshing. To see them and their collaborators at work is to see artists at the top of their game - working without the net of institutional support, but obviously having a hell of a good time in the process - and nurturing personal and working relationships and networks that feel downright subversive in this day and age.

Here's hoping that this project continues to grow, and that eventually someone wakes up and gives these folks some actual money to work with, so that someday Boston can have a Biennial as big and bold and groundbreaking as it deserves!”