Like water for the desert, New Media for New Mexico

Goshka Macuga: Contemporary Polish Installation Artist

I am covering Goshka Macuga in my installation series because she was the featured artist at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago when I was there in March. I went there in the morning, raced through, took photos, and then went to a a series of intense afternoon meetings at the school where I am planning to go for my MFA – Columbia College Chicago. So when I saw Macuga’s exhibit, I was very wound up, excited about grad school, wanting to drink in what the MCA had to offer.

Much of Macuga’s work has political overtones. In the interview below, I took notice of how she spoke of history and her work in the present:

I was impressed with how she viewed history as something fluid that can be manipulated, and also by how she wanted to use whatever media and opportunities that are available to her in contrast to what she experienced under communist rule. Her work encompasses 2d & 3D (I’m trying to remember if I saw any 4D…) artworks. I really enjoyed her wall-sized photo montages that put many different elements together.


She also had a long wall of postings from Polish news of the Maurizio Cattelan’s sculpture of Pope John Paul II being crushed by a meteorite “Notice Board.” Macuga uses art and research together to create her own version of history and events, which I find fascinating.



What was perhaps the most unusual work of the exhibition was the creation of a a meeting table as par of the exhibit. The table can be reserved for meetings by anyone. From MCA’s website:

“Macuga’s installation The Nature of the Beast (2009) integrates the complicated histories of Pablo Picasso’s painting Guernica and the geopolitical maneuvers that led to the United States’ 2003 military strike against Iraq. The meeting table at the center of the installation doubles as an archival display that recounts these tangled stories.

Macuga invites the public to make use of the installation as a meeting room—during days and times specified by the museum—with the only requirement that participants document the meeting in some form. In this way, Macuga renounces control over the work’s shifting meaning as it acquires its own archive independent of her original artistic intent.”



All in all, I appreciated her intellectual, research-based approach to art, her willingness to put political and historical concepts out to be contemplated, and her wide variety of media.

Below is a link to her US gallery representation (Andrew Krepps Gallery in NY):


One response

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