“The fact is, that the art world is full of art biennales, with more than 150 events spread around the world. However, a biennale on a remote, uninhabited island in the Caribbean Sea, a few dozen square meters in area, is an unheard of alternative.” — Concept for Biennale de la Biche
The return of the prodigal child appears throughout art history, from Rembrandt to Thomas Hart Benton to me moving home with my mom. Since no place is too far-flung for an enterprising curator, except one who is broke, a return to art-making at its purest, most local form is in order. Over the last three decades, our house on Valley Vista Boulevard, in Sherman Oaks, California, has inspired countless examinations by me on the art practices of me. Now the art-going public will be granted the same opportunity.
The Moving Back Home With My Mom Biennial is a site-specific show that will take place from my 28th birthday until my mother decides I need to start paying rent. At this indeterminate point, the activities will draw to a close, symbolizing the unpredictability of the current artistic climate. There may be an opportunity for the biennial to continue if I agree to go out with my mom’s dentist’s son who works in finance. Guest curators from all over the world, including two or three liberal-arts college graduates who can no longer afford New York and Berlin, will be invited to contribute to the MBHWMMB.
The Moving Back Home With My Mom Biennial is sponsored by my mom. Generous support (emotional), also comes from her two pugs, Gidget and Winky. The Biennial is also grateful to my cousin who drives for Lyft and gives me free rides.
The uniquely white enclave of Sherman Oaks has figured into pop-culture phenomena touching on class and privilege from Frank Zappa’s Valley Girl to Fast Times at Ridgemont High and is also the childhood home of such contemporary artists as Jennifer Aniston, the Olsen twins, and me. Patrons will disconnect from the oppression of hipness against a backdrop of holistic cat-food stores and laser-tag centers.
Works on display will address the particular challenges of living at my mom’s house. Projects will include the repainting of the living room and the decoding of spatial relationships in the garage. The materiality of the environment will be addressed when Gidget and Winky, who are untrained, soil the carpet. The biennial will also hold educational seminars with my mom, such as helping her file her taxes and offering predictions of who will win The Bachelor.
Within the space of my mom’s house, there will be other interventions of a performing-arts nature by my mom’s mahjong group. These interventions will consist of making me play mahjong in an attempt to find out who I am dating. A series of panels will feature influential voices in the community, including my mom’s personal trainer and my former high-school art teacher, Richard, with whom I am involved in an ongoing collaborative exploration into the boundaries of human lasciviousness. These explorations and my mom’s mahjong group will occur on separate evenings.
Throughout the biennial, MBHWMMB participants will revitalize with regular visits to my mom’s nail lady, the one who always asks me if being a curator is actually a real job. She’ll see.