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Goshka Macuga
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois
Recommendation by Robin Dluzen

Goshka Macuga, ''The Nature of the Beast,'' 2009, installation.


Continuing through April 7, 2013


In “Exhibit, A,” London-based, Polish-born artist Goshka Macuga’s first survey, the artist identifies poignant, overlooked or forgotten events and figures from world and art history, repurposing them into her monumental installations. These historical references are not always easily recognizable, a challenge that encourages the viewer to also become a researcher and pour over the abundant wall texts and the paraphernalia within the installations for clues. 


Deducing meaning becomes a further challenge in Macuga’s massive textile pieces in particular. The tapestry included in "The Nature of the Beast" depicts imagery of an earlier tapestry by the artist, reproducing Picasso's "Guernica" that provides a backdrop for the massive conference table; while the two tapestries of "Of What Is, That It Is; Of What Is Not, That It Is Not" (Part 1 on display at the MCA; Part 2 was temporarily on view at the Smart Museum) are contingent upon the knowledge that they were created by Macuga to be shown in different cities (Kassel and Kabul) during Documenta 13. The self-referential histories of the works are doubled upon the historical imagery in an engrossing and complex visual and intellectual experience. 

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