November 18, 2003 - Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art - Marjetica Potrc
November 18, 2003

Marjetica Potrc

Marjetica Potrc: Urgent Architecture
Marjetica Potrc

22/11/2003 - 29/02/2004

The Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art 
601 Lake Avenue
Press Contact: Paula Mattnews
(561) 582-0006 ext. 0



Museum Publishes Catalogue to Accompany
Marjetica Potrc: Urgent Architecture

The Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art (PBICA) will present a newly commissioned installation by Marjetica Potrc, a leading international artist recently represented at the Venice Biennale. Marjetica Potrc: Urgent Architecture is the artists first major presentation in a U.S. museum since winning the Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum in 2000. Known for her ingenious reimagining of architectural structures in unplanned cities (barrios, favelas, shantytowns, squatter communities), Potrc will create a large, complex and visually arresting architectural collage based on her research in densely populated communities in Caracas, the West Bank, and West Palm Beach.

After its showing at PBICA from November 22, 2003 through February 29, 2004, Marjetica Potrc: Urgent Architecture will travel to the List Visual Art Center at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where it will be on view from May 6 through July 11, 2004.

Marjetica Potrc: Urgent Architecture is curated by PBICA Director Michael Rush and organized by PBICA under the direction of Phillip Estlund and Jody Servon. Contributing to the fully illustrated catalogue along with Rush are Carlos Basualdo, independent curator who worked at the 2003 Venice Biennale, Liyat Esakov, an Israeli architect and assistant to Marjetica Potrc, and Eyal Weizman, also an Israeli architect. Known for his controversial solutions for housing in the West Bank, Weizman will engage in a printed dialogue with Marjetica Potrc. Catalogue design is by Tifenn Aubert, the New York-based designer responsible for the popular PBICA catalogue, BROOKLYN! The catalogue will be available one month after the exhibition opens since it will document the project being made specifically for PBICA.

The Exhibition

Marjetica Potrc is an artist and architect with particular interest in informal or unplanned cities, such as those that develop in major urban areas like São Paolo, Brazil; Caracas, Venezuela; San Juan, Puerto Rico and many other cities in the world. Given the often desperate lack of resources in these communities, Potrc has designed self-sustaining housing units that can provide water, sewage and electrical service to the occupants. Rather than designing purely practical and drab residences, she injects her designs with glowing colors (pinks and oranges) as a way of celebrating life and the beauty she sees in shared needs. We all seek the same things, she says, shelter, food, water and beauty.

Working with the themes of security, defense and pursuit of happiness, Potrc will construct a massive installation of housing units based on what she has seen of gated communities and temporary shelters (that have become permanent) in Caracas, the West Bank and West Palm Beach. Potrc sees strong affinities between these three areas in terms of the tensions between public and private space; safety and community interaction. Using available materials from concrete blocks to barbed wire and wood and aluminum, Potrcs installation will be a monolithic testimony to the power of art and architecture in shaping and reimagining the human environment. Such (designs) bring about a long-needed dialogue between the formal and informal city, which obviously benefits everyone, Potrc says. The timing is good, too. Every three days, more than a million people move to urban areas, and many of them live in shantytowns. The PBICA exhibition will also feature four large conceptually-based wall drawings and two series of framed drawings that address Potrcs interest in walled communities and access to water.

PBICA Director and curator of the exhibition, Michael Rush says, Marjetica is one of the most extraordinary artists I have ever encountered. Her work doesnt happen in the isolated confines of the studio, but rather in the world where masses of people compete for space and basic necessities. But far from being depressing or confrontational, her work is charged with beauty, humor and a tremendous sense of possibility. She is involved in a huge enterprise which involves nothing less than the fundamentals of human life and spirit.

The PBICA exhibition will also feature several of Potrcs power tools, such as her Hippo Water Roller, a rolling container for water that substitutes for the heavy and clumsy vessels women place on their heads in many parts of the world; a Clockwork Mobile Telephone Charger; and a Survival Kit, used by the Mexican government and the U.S. Border Patrol for would-be immigrants. It contains anti-diarrheal medicine, adhesive bandages, and powder to prevent dehydration, birth control pills and condoms.

Also included will be a representative selection of her Animal Sightings Series, a set of digital prints of animals such as coyotes, bears and raccoons caught roaming cities and visiting houses.

About the Artist

Born in 1953 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where she still lives, Marjetica Potrc was trained in architecture and fine art. She received degrees at the University of Ljubljana where she is now a Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts. She has exhibited widely in the U.S. and Europe, including representing Slovenia at the Venice Biennale in 1993 along with the artist collective IRWIN. Other exhibiting venues include: the Center for Curatorial Studies Museum, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (1996); São Paulo Biennial, São Paulo, Brazil (1996); Skulptur. Projekte in Muenster (1997); La casa, il Corpo, il Cuore: Konstruktion der Identitaeten, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna (1999); Urban Visions, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts (1999); Manifesta 3, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2000); Guggenheim Museum, NY (2001); Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany (2001); and Max Protetch Gallery, New York, NY (2002). In addition, Potrc has received numerous awards, including grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (1993 and 1999) and the Soros Center for Contemporary Arts, Ljubljana (1994), Parque de la Memoria Sculpture Prize, Buenos Aires (2000). She received the prestigious Hugo Boss Prize from the Guggenheim Museum in 2000.


Michael Rush was appointed Director and Chief Curator of PBICA in 2000. For PBICA, he has curated BROOKLYN!, with Dominique Nahas; Sculpture Now; Sue Williams; Günter Brus; Video Jam, with Galen Joseph-Hunter and Japan:Rising, with Dominique Nahas. He contributes regularly to several publications, includingPAJ, The New York Times,, and Art in America. He is the author of New Media in Late 20th-Century Art, published in 1999 and Video Art, just published by Thames and Hudson.

Concurrent Exhibition

Marjetica Potrc: Urgent Architecture runs concurrently with Scott Peterman: Retreat, a solo exhibition of over 20 photographs by Maine-based photographer Scott Peterman, and, in the New Media Lounge, recent videos by Seoungho Cho, both organized by PBICA.

Public Programs:

The museum offers numerous public programs in direct relation to current exhibitions. These include Artist-to-Artist Dialogues, Family Hands-on Workshops, Art Book Club, Culture Club (targeting teens), and Cine al Fresco, the PBICA series of themed free outdoor films. Most notable are Art Talks, artist presentations and panel discussions on current exhibitions led by exhibiting artists and arts professionals. Dates for many of the programs are yet to be confirmed. Unless otherwise noted, all programs will take place at PBICA and are free with paid museum admission. Attendees are encouraged to view the exhibition prior to the start of the program. Reservations requested.

Urgent Architecture: A Dialogue Saturday, November 22, 11:00 a.m.

A discussion by exhibiting artist Marjetica Potrc and PBICA Director and exhibition curator Michael Rush, exploring architectural and social issues as portrayed in Potrcs exhibition.

Architectural Influences: A Talk by Zaha Hadid Thursday, January 15, 7:00 p.m.

The internationally renowned British architect, known for her Deconstructivist building designs, will present and discuss her work and commissions from around the world.

The Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art is located at 601 Lake Avenue in Downtown Lake Worth. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday from noon until 6:00 p.m. The museum is open until 8:00 p.m. on the first and third Friday of the month and admission is free between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. Regular admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. Children under 12 are free. For more information, please call (561) 582-0006 or visit

The exhibitions and programs at PBICA are generously supported by Robert and Mary Montgomery.

Heading Image Credit Information:

All images courtesy of the artist and Max Protetch Gallery, New York, NY.

Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art
Share - Marjetica Potrc
  • Share