Alina & Jeff BliumisAmerican Dream (2007-2008) is part of an ongoing, community-based public art project that explores migration, displacement, and assimilation through dialogue and interactions with strangers. The first version of American Dream was made in a bookstore in the heavily Russian-Jewish community of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Against the backdrop of books and films, each participant held up a thought bubble with their idea of the American dream. These intimate portraits remind us that behind the clichéd concept of the “American Dream” are real and personal stories. This week the Bliumises ask the community of The Jewish Museum, “What’s your dream?” and upload images at the end of each day to a monitor in the gallery and to the Off the Wall blog.

Completed Work on View

In the video series Ways to Celebrate with Total Strangers, the Bliumis team explores the variety of interpersonal behavior in public and private space. For émigrés of the former Soviet Union, food and drink have strong social associations, as the dinner table was one of few forums to openly discuss politics. In the video “Let’s Drink. Let’s Talk. Free.” the Bliumises invite strangers to tell stories and toast one another in an effort to break down social boundaries and challenge the strangeness of foreigners.

Alina and Jeff Bliumis immigrated to the United States during the third wave of Russian immigration (1970s-1990s). They live and work in New York. The duo has exhibited at the Moscow Biennale, Busan Biennale (South Korea), Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, and dozens of international film festivals.