The Venice Biennale is one of the world’s most important forums for the dissemination of international contemporary art. Venice is a grand maze, and aside from the 2 main venues housing the majority of the Biennale, the remaining pavilions are dispersed around the entire city making creative use of private residences, businesses, and public spaces. Another unique aspect of the Biennale is that open documentation of the exhibition through photography and video is permitted.
This summer BLANKET will travel to Venice to attend the 56th Annual Biennale and record every piece they encounter. They will extensively document wall tags, room orientation, gather pamphlets and catalogs, make note of give-a-ways/ posters etc. Upon their return they will reproduce the entire exhibition piece by piece through photocopies, hand-recreated installations and digital devices, then install the work all over KCK and KCMO as The Mini Vinnie Bini. BLANKET will secure pieces inside and outside businesses and friends’ residences and create a detailed map that will lead visitors to locations as if they were winding around Venice and tracking down each pavilion.
A large percentage of the Biennale is free to the public, and this exhibition will be entirely free to the public, as will recreated didactic materials and a catalog presenting curated highlights of BLANKET’s on-site experience with more in-depth information on blockbuster, emerging, contemporary artists. An exciting aspect of this installation process is that it will include neighborhoods that typically have no connection with the insular art community that exists in Kansas City.
The exhibition will be maintained for 3 months providing ample time for people to interact with it and for BLANKET to execute a series of public programs. They will coordinate tours of the exhibition, and encourage reaction-installations around the city/ reaction-catalogs that will further document the show’s effect on our local community. They will publish a call to action on their website and social media to inspire these reactions.
At the end of the exhibition BLANKET will donate physical copies of catalogs and didactic materials to local public, private, and university libraries so that interested parties can research from them beyond the exhibition’s end.
BLANKET says: “Special programming will coincide with the timely holidays between October and December: a haunted house inside one of our venues, a public Thanksgiving feast in a parking lot, and a massive NYE party at the most elaborate installation – and at midnight we’ll destroy it as a group. Some of our tours will be collaborative efforts with Bike Walk KC, the Hello Art Trolley, and a recent phenomenon ‘KC Segway Tours’. We would also like to include tours with a motorcycle gang, and the group of 40-60 year old men who ride horses in Swope Park if they can convince them to be part of the action!”
This exhibition will fuse art right into the backdrop of the city, in an inclusive and educational way that will inevitably pique curiosity.
In society at large there is a misconception that the artist is a solo creator of genius. BLANKET sees The Artist as part of an old regime of outdated art world rationale based on game-playing and privilege-favoring that results in artist recognition. BLANKET is artist duo Megan Mantia and Leone Anne Reeves who choose to counter this misconception through collaborating, with the intention of knocking The Artist off the pedestal. BLANKET is a couple of pranksters who aim to create high art out of low art, but not in a sarcastic way. Much of their work is a parody of personal and societal frustrations, hilarities, and pop culture. They surpass mockery in order to experience something hilarious and joyful in the midst of an art world that is too serious, and the only thing BLANKET is serious about is being silly.
To counter The Artist, and take a field trip from the stale white cube, BLANKET has been working on a multi-year project called Year of Dreams (YOD). For YOD, duo pilgrimages to themed mass-gatherings in order to experience life as directly as possible, transcending what they refer to as ‘Google’s Shallow Ocean.’
BLANKET’s work is multifaceted, ranging from photography, installation, video, performance, pranks, to experimental writing. Mantia and Reeves began collaborating in 2003 as members of a radical cheerleading squad called Rah! Booty. From the start, their collaborative work has explored their fascination and frustration with the complicated nature of the Female Experience, much in the way they are dissatisfied by the idolization of The Artist. Their work investigates Feminism, parody, pop culture, Whiteness, satire, and the Zen Buddhist Philosophy of the here and now.