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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » January 26, 2012
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Attacks on Art: Controversy Revisited
January 26, 2012   
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Untitled, a new exhibition by Goshka Macuga at the Zachęta gallery in Warsaw, revisits some of the most controversial events held at the gallery.

These include the Nazis exhibition by Piotr Ukłański during which actor Daniel Olbrychski cut up a film still depicting himself dressed in a Nazi uniform from the movie Bolero.

Controversy also surrounded The Passion, a work by Dorota Nieznalska in which a photograph of male genitals was placed on a cross. The work, exhibited at the Zachęta, led to Nieznalska facing charges of blasphemy. She was subsequently sentenced to six months of community service.

In her new exhibition, Macuga, who is an artist, art curator, collector, researcher and exhibition designer, takes on censorship in Poland’s post-1989 art, exploring the relationship between art and politics. The exhibition at the Zachęta gallery explores attacks on works of art, artists, curators, gallery directors and other cultural institutions. A number of high-profile attacks, during which works of art were destroyed in the name of patriotic and Catholic values, have been carried out in conjunction with exhibitions at the Zachęta gallery.

Macuga’s method of working is often referred to as “archeology of culture.” By researching the history of cultural institutions, exhibition documentation, guestbooks, press cuttings, letters, both private ones and those from the Zachęta gallery’s archives, Macuga recounts artistic scandals and attacks on art, artists, directors and curators. The end result is a 14-meter-long chart that features press cuttings, documents and official letters including demands that the Ministry of Culture received for exhibitions to be closed down.

Macuga was born in 1967 in Warsaw. She is a graduate of the Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Goldsmiths College in London. In 2008, she was one of four nominees for the prestigious Turner Prize. She lives and works in London.

Until Feb. 19; Zachęta National Gallery of Art
3 Małachowskiego Sq., tel. 22 827-58-54, www.zacheta.art.pl
Open Tue.-Sun. noon-8 p.m.
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