Well good, that got your attention. Because attention must be paid, due to us having some seriously good news to report. A successful European journalist (referred to us through one of our many hip international contacts) was so impressed with us that she did the following interview with The Biennial Project, which will soon appear in a major international news venue – the name of which we are not allowed to tell you yet – which of course just kills us. So read it here first. And by the way, we were not kidding about the good-looking part. She’s super smart and talented too of course, but that wouldn’t have gotten you to click, and we needed you to click. So forgive us our sins, or not. But read the interview.
Hello, my name is Christine Recrue and I am a Czech journalist. I would love to introduce the Biennial Project, which I find very remarkable, to my audience, and inform people in Europe about it. If you are interested, could you please answer a few questions?
First, let us begin by saying that we are thrilled and honored that you want to write about us! YES, YES, YES, we would love to answer these and any other questions you have.
1) Who are you and what is the Biennial Project about?
The Official Biennial Project Manifesto reads as follows: The Biennial Project is a collaborative project by artists Eric Hess, Anna Salmeron and our friends to explore the nature and understand the perception of biennial exhibits within the art world, and, in so doing, to develop a collective body of work that will be exhibited in as many biennial exhibits as possible especially the really cool ones.
That pretty much sums it up.
2) Can you tell me more about members of the Biennial Project? How did the Project change your art career? What did you do before the Project?
An ever-expanding and talented group of artists participate in and support the work that is The Biennial Project. And that doesn't even count the voices in our heads. We are seriously legion we are so many. And don't think we won't remember who was with us and who wasn't when we hit the big time. The shepherds of this flock include two artists as talented as they are unsuited for any sort of gainful employment - Eric Hess and Anna Salmeron. They are shy and reclusive, so little is know about their personal lives. Among the few details that can be pieced together include that Eric only eats vanilla ice cream – "why try other flavors when I love vanilla?”, and hosted a radio show on WUSO Springfield, Ohio in the mid 80’s. Of Latvian descent, he enjoys a hearty breakfast of grey peas and sausage with black bread and beet juice. He owns a Japanese Chin named Gertie and a naughty black cat named Madonna. He had to wear a jacket and tie to school each day from the 5th to the 12th grade and hates tucking in his shirt. He still does not really know his left from his right. He likes riding the bus (especially short ones and subways). He vacations in Central America and thinks people are stupid spending money on sanitized boring resorts. He was a Boyscout who made it to Life and got de-scouted when he came out of the closet even though all of his early sexual experiences took place on scouting camping trips. He has over 15,00 songs on his itunes library. He collects shot glasses and Aunt Jemima figurines. He is obsesses with his netflix cue – don’t ever mess with it.
About Anna even less is known. There are only 25 things we really know for sure: 1) she likes apple sauce but not peanut butter or ice tea, 2 Her favorite song is Memo From Turner by Mick Jagger, 3) Her childhood cat won an award for bravery for which he received a really nice plaque, 4) At age 12 she decided to see how long she could go without changing her underwear. Her mother stopped this experiment after 22 days, 5) She has instructions for her funeral posted on Youtube, 6) She enjoys the taste and texture of scabs, 7) Her favorite movie is The Marriage of Maria Braun, 8) She is terrified of dandelions and small planes. 9) She bagged nearly every arguably attractive guy in her high school, 10) She does not regret even one of them, 11) There was this one guy though - Chris Smith - who she always thought she would get around to eventually but never did. That she regrets, 12) She does not like to have scabs on her body. They break up the clean lines. So she eats them, 13) She has eaten her dog's scabs, 14) She has a sister who lives in Montreal who has a very troubled history with drugs, 15) The Stanford Band created some of the best performance art she has ever seen, 16) Her favorite book is Malone Dies by Samuel Beckett, 17) She is a defense lawyer's dream juror, 18) As a child she was certain that she had been dropped on earth by her home people as part of some kind of secret mission, 19) She was asked not to return to her confirmation class for doubting the possibility of a virgin birth, 20) Her first celebrity crush was Sammy Davis Junior. She had all the details of their life together worked out in her head, 21) They would have three daughters - Sugar, Candy, and Cinnamon, 22) She has only had sex with one woman, 23) She is pretty sure that she is smarter most people, 24) She is not always a good listener, 25) She believes that she should be more famous than she is.
The Biennial Project has most changed our art careers (using that term in a very loose sense) by giving us an excellent vehicle to piss off boring people. We didn't realize when we got started to what extent our little construct would so effectively sort the world into those with a sense of humor and those without. A few sad souls here and there either don't get the joke or find their reflection so unflattering that it gets them mad as hens. This helps us immeasurably by giving us a never ending source of new material. On the flip side, The Biennial Project has allowed us to develop an international network of just incredibly amazing artists that appreciate what we do – folks that we would never have gotten to know otherwise. It has also forced us to continually develop our technical skills so we can maintain The Biennial Project's well-known level of professional presentation.
To answer your last question, we do not ourselves have clear memories of The Time Before The Biennial Project, but our elders tell us that is was a dark and frightening world governed by primitive superstitions, command hallucinations, and the Spanish Inqusition. (You weren't expecting the Spanish Inqusition, were you? Don't worry, no one does.)
3) When did the project start? What was the first art work you did together?
We get asked that a lot. Here is a statement we wrote to help people understand how we got started:
How, you may ask, did we get started on such a project?
Well, the beginning was like this: in the fall of 2007, one of our cool globe-trotting friends had just returned from the Venice Biennale, where she had been inundated with Biennial Art – the great, the good, the bad, and the really really bad. She, like other members of our really cool artist community before her, had several conflicting reactions to seeing all this stamp-of-approval art in one place. First, that much of the art was inspirational, second, that much of it sucked, and finally, that much of the stuff that we and our really cool artist friends were doing was better.
So why weren’t WE there, sipping chianti and chatting up pretty young things at the openings?
To answer this question, we have had to look deeply and honestly into ourselves, and upon so doing, frankly, we like what we see, and feel we have the qualities necessary to achieve major success.
WE’ve read a little art history,
WE have the sense of ironic detachment mandatory in today’s environment,
WE know enough not to inject our work with any real emotion or technique,
WE are careful to always include the suitable current buzzwords when describing our work,
WE have cool black outfits,
WE never make much sense when asked direct questions, and WE suck in the straight world.
So why haven’t WE become the Art Rock Stars we so clearly deserve to be?
What is preventing us from fulfilling our dreams, and how can we change it?
From these profound existential questions came the work group that came to be known as The Biennial Project. We hope you will travel with us on this ongoing journey of discovery.
The Biennial Project formally began work in 2008.
To answer the second part of your question - the first work of art that we created together was our now well-known logo with our trademark slogan - 'It's About Us!".
4) If I get it right, your goal was to get to as many biennial exhibits as possible. How successful have you been so far?
You are exactly right about our goal. We want - no, need - to be famous international art rock stars so that the world can be exposed to our important work. We have a god-given gift of enormous artistic talent, and it is just so not acceptable that we are not allowed to share it with a larger audience. We are working on rectifying this injustice by presenting our important art work directly at the most fabulous Biennials and Biennales, although we have not technically been invited to participate in any of them as of yet. But it is just a matter of time until this changes.
5) What did you learn on your self-discovery? Have you changed your opinion on biennial exhibits?
Another excellent question. Well, among other things, that is is extremely fun to take pictures of ourselves and make fools of ourselves in public places. It even has a name. It is called Performance Art. We love telling people that our practice used to be object based, but now involves Durational Performative Installations with Aspirational Themes. Pretty cool huh?
6) You co-operate with many artists. On your FB page you have a photo with Eva and Adele. Where did you meet them and what was it like to meet artist from the future?
Yes indeed, we have many co-conspirators, and some of them are with us......freedom soon will come! But we digress.
Yes, our Artistic Collaboration with Eva&Adele at this year's Venice Biennale was a high point of our Performative Practice. They are naturals for collaboration with us - like us their names start with E and A, they are smart dressers, crave attention, and have turned an obsession with attending art events into a lucrative career. Plus they follow our lead in favoring gender and sexual freedom and being ahead of their time. We honored them by designing couture original square dance dresses and having our personal seamstress execute our designs in custom Biennial Project fabric. We attended Eva&Adele's Swatch Pavilion Gala Opening Reception dressed in our custom outfits and bald wigs and pearls. Most of the press in attendance seemed more interested in photographing Eric&Anna as Eva&Adele than in paying attention to what Eva& Adele were doing. Eva&Adele were of course extremely impressed with our homage to their practice.
7) If I’m right then- your art is, that you make ..situations? Next you take photos about it and after that is it a material for exhibitions? ?
YES! That is it exactly. Could you be our publicist?
Can anybody support you in your art? For example when I buy a t-shirt with your logo and I start making what you do and saying that I’m from The Biennial Project, is it ok? I am trying to say, if anybody could start to be your "art friend" for example from the Czech Republic who is really interested in your idea?
OMG! YES! YES! YES! Now we are thinking that you must be our publicist. Eric&Anna are the Skippers of this great big boat, and the more like-minded fools we have on board the better. Anyone can work with us - we fucking LOVE collaboration! Propose a project that we can do together with you. Or do your thing, and send documentation to us and we can promote it as coming from a Biennial Project Collaborating Artist. Just one thing though - no boring still life paintings - there are other groups for that shit.
8) What message would you like to send to people who also want to get to biennial exhibits?
Well, wait your turn, damn it!, because we were in line way before you, and there's no way we're letting you cut in front of us!
No seriously, if we have a real message (the jury is still out on this), if is probably that as artists we have been given the most profound gift in having something that we love to do that makes our lives interesting and meaningful. Such things don't usually make one rich or famous, but who cares. As our buddy (american Art Critic) and fellow provocateur Jerry Saltz put it to us "your lives are so so much bigger than mine. I envy you for these lives lived in art… (He really said that! To us!) Just live, make the art that you have in you, and enjoy other art and artists. That's it. As another dear friend summed it up - "How in the world you gonna see? Laughing at fools like me. Who on Earth do you think you are? A superstar? Well, right you are!"
8) What do you think an ‘art’ is?
Art is freedom, art is fun, art is attending to the joy of childhood with the rigor of a research scientist. A working artist is something to be.
The Biennial Project
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