Goshka Macuga’s It Broke from Within

Goshka Macuga’s It Broke from Within

Walker Art Center

Installation view of Goshka Macuga’s “It Broke from Within.”
Photo by Gene Pittman.

April 20, 2011

Goshka Macuga
It Broke from Within

Through August 14, 2011

Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403


Combining the roles of researcher, historian and curator, Goshka Macuga explores ways in which modern and contemporary art forms and museums have engaged evolving ideas of politics and community. For her first solo museum exhibition in the United States, the London-based Polish artist delves into the Walker’s past, foregrounding the institution’s early link to the lumber industry while considering the forest as a metaphor for American democracy and freedom.

Within a physical space of her own design—inspired by a rendering of a “town square” lounge proposed for the Walker’s 2005 Herzog & de Meuron expansion—the artist has arranged elements from the institution’s collections and archives against a monumental new tapestry. The woodland landscape depicted in the weaving is a tract of old-growth forest in northern Minnesota known as the Lost Forty, which survived logging due to a surveying error in 1882. Amid the gargantuan white pines, Macuga has assembled a broad group of individuals related to her research, including artists connected to the Walker, its current and past directors, and Tea Party activists she photographed at a Tax Day rally last year outside the Minnesota State Capitol.

The exhibition’s title derives from a 1941 Walker membership drive brochure that warned, “Remember France? It broke from within. That can happen here.” In the context of World War II, the brochure argued that cultural venues provided a platform for shared civic discourse, protecting the country from “disunity and social revolution.” Without proposing a remedy for today’s polarized political climate, Macuga demonstrates art’s ability to bind together disparate histories, economies, and ideologies in new, if unlikely, relationships.

About the Artist
Born in Warsaw, Poland in 1967 Macuga attended the Wojciech Gerson School of Art, Warsaw; and later Central Saint Martins School of Art, London; followed by Goldsmiths College, London. Macuga was a 2008 nominee for Britain’s Turner Prize. Recent projects include The Nature of the Beast, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2009–2010); I Am Become Death, Kunsthalle Basel, (2009); the 53rd Venice Biennale, (2009); the 5th Berlin Biennale (2008); What’s in a name? Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, (2007); Sleep of Ulro, Liverpool Biennial, (2006); and How to Live Together, 27th São Paulo Biennial, (2006).

Public Program
Dieter Roelstraete, curator at the Antwerp Museum of Contemporary Art (MuHKA), on the work of Goshka Macuga. The talk is now available for streaming on channel.walkerart.org.

Goshka Macuga: It Broke From Within is curated by Peter Eleey, Curator of MoMA PS1, and Bartholomew Ryan, Assistant Curator at the Walker Art Center.

As part of the Walker Art Center’s Expanding the Rules of Engagement with Artists and Audiences initiative, this exhibition is made possible by the Bush Foundation. Goshka Macuga’s residency is made possible by the Nimoy Foundation.

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Goshka Macuga's It Broke from Within
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Walker Art Center
April 20, 2011

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