Persona Grata by jeff bliumis


Persona grata

A collaborative project between the Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration and the MAC VAL

From 16 October 2018 to 20 January 2019 Press opening on 15 October 2018


The Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration and the MAC VAL- Musée d’art contemporain du Val-de-Marne are collaborating to present a project questioning the notion of hospitality through the prism of contemporary creation.
Together, the two institutions- a social museum that value contemporary creation and a contemporary art museum that tackles social issues- are happy to present “Persona grata”, an exhibition organized over the two locations with a rich cultural programming: an occasion for artists to explore all the dimensions of what constitutes or corrodes the notions of hospitality and alterity through their own vision and sensitivity.


MAC VAL - Musée d’art contemporain du Val-de-Marne Place de la Libération - 94400 Vitry-sur-Seine
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Press contacts: anne samson communications Morgane Barraud +33 (0)1 40 36 84 34
Federica Forte +33 (0)1 40 36 84 40

Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration 293 avenue Daumesnil - 75012 Paris
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Press contacts: Pierre Laporte Communication Samira Chabri, Alice Delacharlery,
Laurent Jourdren
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The acceleration of migratory flows and the growing place these issues occupy in the public debate increasingly question the foundations of our societies. On one hand, camps and walls mushroom and confirm the irreversible setback of our hospitality duty, while on the other, citizen involvement grows to help, support and welcome migrants. Is the answer of today’s harsh society to bring emergency assistance rather than implement long-term and effective hospitality policies?

Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration

“Persona grata” exhibition
16 October 2018 – 20 January 2019
Co-curated by Anne-Laure Flacelière, MAC VAL collection Study and Development Officer and Isabelle Renard, Collections and Exhibitions Director at the Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration

With works by Bertille Bak, Dominique Blais, Alina Bliumis, Jeff Bliumis, Halida Boughriet, Kyungwoo Chun, Philippe Cognée, Pascale Consigny, Hamid Debarrah, Latifa Echakhch, Eléonore False, Claire Fontaine, Laura Henno, Pierre Huyghe, Bertrand Lamarche, Xie Lei, Lahouari Mohammed Bakir, Moataz Nasr, Eva Nielsen, Gina Pane, Laure Prouvost, Enrique Ramirez, Judit Reigl, Anri Sala, Sarkis, Zineb Sedira, Bruno Serralongue, Chiharu Shiota, Société Réaliste, Dan Stockholm, Barthélémy Toguo...

In this context and from the collections of both museums, this artistic partnership aims at highlighting a contemporary creation that reflects today’s world as well as tackling these issues from the point of view of the many artists who have explored the theme of hospitality over the last years.

The exhibition will provide a platform for artists to share their analyses, critics and feelings toward national fold, behaviors of rejection and revolt. These artistic testimonies will help us think these questions through and look at ourselves yet without any moralistic judgment.

Welcome ! Festival
6 October – 11 November 2018

Through this unique and engaged partnership project, the Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration and the MAC VAL look to raise awareness, foster reflection and debate, and call our certitudes into question. Although central, the issues related to migratory flows do not cross out other neglected –and little known- forms of hospitality toward helpless and weakened populations. The exhibition will bring forth proposals around community life, care for others, the necessity of nursing homes, public health-care and hospitality centers held in a spirit of attentiveness, kindness and sharing we should rehabilitate.

Programming: Stéphane Malfettes

Under the eyes of philosophers Fabienne Brugère and Guillaume Le Blanc, authors of La fin de l’hospitalité, this two-fold exhibition will be complemented by a cultural programming: Welcome! at the Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration (6 October-11 November 2018) and Attention fragile at the MAC VAL (30 November, 1 and 2 December 2018).

MAC VAL – Musée d’art contemporain du Val-de-Marne

“Persona grata” exhibition
16 October 2018 – 24February 2019
Curated by Ingrid Jurzak, MAC VAL Collection Study and Management Officer

With works by Eduardo Arroyo, Marcos Avila Forero, Bertille Bak, Richard Baquié, Taysir Batniji, Ben, Bruno Boudjelal, Mark Brusse, Pierre Buraglio, Mircea Cantor, Étienne Chambaud, Kyungwoo Chun, Philippe Cognée, Delphine Coindet, Julien Discrit, Thierry Fontaine, Jochen Gerz, Ghazel, Marie-Ange Guilleminot, Mona Hatoum, Éric Hattan, Laura Henno, Emily Jacir, Yeondoo Jung, Bouchra Khalili, Kimsooja, Claude Lévêque, Lahouari Mohammed Bakir, Lucy Orta, Bernard Pagès, Yan Pei-Ming, Cécile Paris, Mathieu Pernot, Jacqueline Salmon, Bruno Serralongue, Esther Shalev-Gerz, Société Réaliste, Djamel Tatah, Barthélémy Toguo, Patrick Tosani, Sabine Weiss...

Festival-Rencontre, 30 November, 1 and 2 December 2018
Programming: Stéphanie Airaud - Thibault Capéran 



February 26, 2018




March 6 - March 12, 2018
4 Times Square, NYC (Entrance at 140 West 43rd Street) 

Throughout their practice, Alina and Jeff Bliumis engage in an ongoing investigation into foreignness and the ontology of cultural misfits. As exemplified by the title of their first catalogue, Receiving the Stranger, the artists’ work is rooted in the desire to communicate through difference. Using communication as the medium par excellence, their projects raise questions around what constitutes community, what constitutes borders, and how the former are shaped by the latter. Most importantly, the artists acknowledge that language itself can function as a border, as a paradigm of power, and can be used to frame communities. In the words of literary theorist Leo Bersani, language doesn’t merely describe identity but actually produces it.

Cultural Tips for New Americans Under Trump reiterates a project that Alina & Jeff Bliumis first undertook in 2011. In this earlier it- eration, Cultural Tips for New Americans, the artists set out to compile advice that people who consider themselves “real Americans” give to newcomers, to supposedly help them assimilate to their new surroundings. Characterized by a certain lightheartedness and humor, these cultural tips in fact reveal inherent aspects of American society and say more about Americans themselves than the communities to whom they address their advice. Having immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe, Alina and Jeff Bliumis picked up on this American encouragement to “blend in” early on. Now, in the wake of our current political climate, the artists felt an urgency to revisit this project, and gathered additional cultural tips for new Americans living under the Trump presidency using handbooks, public forums, street question- naires, and social media. The collection of tips that resulted from the artists’ inquiry ranges from amusing suggestions (If someone says ‘come over anytime’ don’t take it literally) to harsh realities (Sometimes undocumented immigrants stay undocumented for a long time). Concur- rently, the artists collected ethnic wooden souvenirs, which radiate a certain fetishization of otherness, from all around New York City and sandblasted these objects to remove their original decorations and uncover the wood underneath. The cultural tips are then written onto the wooden souvenirs in ink, causing them to become decontextualized objects, much like the immigrants to whom the cultural tips are addressed.

The wooden sculptures are accompanied by Alina Bliumis’ recent series Most of Us Are and After Total War Comes Total Living. Rooted in the constructivist aesthetic of the 1920’s, these works reinforce the role of language in the construction of identity. Most of Us Are mixes up statistics of the “most typical” people worldwide, resulting in what could be considered portraits of generalized citizens, while After Total War Comes Total Living takes inspiration from the eponymous Cold War poster and brings propaganda rhetoric from the past into the present.

Jeff Bliumis’ series Dreamers is displayed in a separate room across the hall. Painted with oil on canvas, these works might seem to a disengaged viewer to be nothing more than portraits of people in the service industry. In actuality, the paintings capture the immigrant communities of New York City and explore the variety of intricate identities, adding a bodily presence to the cultural tips.

For more information, please contact Ksenia M. Soboleva at: 




September 26, 2016


To be a foreigner — one who is defined as not from here — often means unknowingly breaking rigid social and cultural rules. Definitions of these social and cultural standards often say a lot about the native society. As the proverbial Land of Opportunity, the United States has always had a steady stream of new Americans and "what it means to be an American" is loudly and frequently discussed on national television.

For Cultural Tips For New Americans project, we gathered advice to help recent arrivals assimilate and understand their new home. We took advice from published guides, public forums, streets questionnaires, social websites, and friends.




solo show at Bushel, Delhi, NY by jeff bliumis


15 July - 5 August 2016

Bushel is pleased to present new work from NYC- and Andes-based artists Alina and Jeff Bliumis. The pair have worked collaboratively since 2000, but this show is built around a single recent series from each artist: Post-Newsfrom Alina Bliumis and VIEW FROM BELOW from Jeff Bliumis. Post-News is a series of single-print etchings inspired by the unintentional visual narratives newspaper pages convey and their aftereffects on readers; VIEW FROM BELOW consists of oil paintings of Delaware County residents and workers inspired by the views—both real and imagined—of a patient confined to a hospital bed for an extended period.