Goshka Macuga

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Goshka Macuga (born 1967 in Warsaw, Poland as Małgorzata Macuga) is an artist based in London. She was one of the four nominees for the 2008 Turner Prize.[1]

Life and work[edit]

Goshka Macuga was born in Poland. A graduate of Central St. Martins College of Art and Design and Goldsmiths, University of London, she makes installations which incorporate other artists’ work alongside a variety of disparate objects.[2] She uses techniques and styles common in archiving and museum display.[3] Macuga's work method is often referred to as cultural archaeology as well as being compared to detective work. Her appropriation-based intervention posed questions about ownership, information flow, the possibility of using this information, as well as about the freedom of interpretation when taking advantage of available sources. Macuga often uses art history as a point of reference. When she is working in a given institution, she starts by looking through its archives.

For an exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2009, Macuga incorporated a 1955 tapestry version of Picasso’s 1937 antiwar painting Guernica into a year-long installation about the 1930s-era controversy generated by the painting. After 24 years on display just outside the Security Council at the Headquarters of the United Nations, the textile was pulled down and flown to London.[4][5]

While in residence at the Walker Art Center in 2010-11, Macuga produced work that would investigate the cultural and political context of the Walker Art Center itself. Culminating in the exhibition, It Broke From Within, Macuga investigated the history of the shaping of the Walker Art Center as an institution through its archives. The exhibition explored the political orientation, community theory, lumber, financial history, and serendipity of clerical errors concerning the Walker.[6]

In 2012 she was among the artists selected for the dOCUMENTA (13) survey in Kassel, aimed at artistic research and forms of imagination that explore commitment, matter, things, embodiment, and active living in connection with, yet not subordinated to, theory.[7] The resulting two-part work commissioned for the dOCUMENTA (13), Of what is, that it is; of what is not, that it is not consists of two photo-based black-and-white tapestries that are to be exhibited simultaneously but never together in the same place. Part 1 depicts a diverse crowd of Afghans and Westerners in front of Darul Aman Palace outside of Kabul, Afghanistan. Part 2, originally exhibited in Kabul, shows a photoshopped collage of an art-world crowd and protesters gathering outside of the Orangerie in Kassel.[8]

She is represented in London by Kate MacGarry, in New York by Andrew Kreps Gallery and in Munich by Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle.


  • 2012 Exhibit,A, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
  • 2012 dOCUMENTA 13, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany and Queen's Palace, Kabul, Afghanistan
  • 2011 Untitled, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw
  • 2011 It Broke from Within, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
  • 2010 Newspeak: British Art Now pt.1, Saatchi Gallery, London
  • 2010 Star City, The Future Under Communism, Nottingham Contemporary
  • 2009 The Bloomberg Commission The Nature of the Beast, Whitechapel Gallery, London
  • 2009 I am Become Death, Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland
  • 2009 The Dark Monarch: Magic and Modernity in British Art, Tate St.Ives
  • 2009 Textile Art and the Social Fabric, MuHKA Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp
  • 2009 53rd Venice Biennale: Fare Mondi/Making Worlds, Corderie dell’Arsenale, Venice
  • 2008 Turner Prize 2008, Tate Britain, London
  • 2008 5th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art, Neue Nationalgalerie
  • 2007 What’s In a Name, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York
  • 2006 3rd Attese Biennale di Ceramica nell’ Arte Contemporanea, Museo della Ceramica Manlio Trucco, Albissola Superiore, Italy
  • 2006 Sleep of Ulro, A Foundation, Liverpool
  • 2006 Mula sem Cabeça (Headless Mule), How to Live Together, 27th São Paulo Biennial
  • 2006 The Past is a Foreign Country:They do Things Differently There, Mathilda is Calling, Institut Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt, Germany
  • 2005 Goshka Macuga, Kate MacGarry, London
  • 2005 Go Between, Amt der Landeshauptstadt Kultur, Bregenz, Austria
  • 2005 The British Art Show, Baltic and touring the UK
  • 2004 Autumn Catalog Leather Fringes, Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland
  • 2003 Kabinett der Abstrakten, BloombergSpace, London
  • 2002 Homeless Furniture, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland
  • 2002 Untitled, Fundacja Galerii Foksal, Warsaw, Poland
  • 2002 Friendship of the Peoples (with Declan Clarke), The Project, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2000 Cave, Kunstakuten, Stockholm, Sweden


  • 2013 Polish Ministry Of Culture and National Heritage Award
  • 2011 Arnold Bode Prize

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Four artists up for Turner Prize", BBC, 13 May 2008. Retrieved 4 September 2008.
  2. ^ "Art Now. Objects in relation: Goshka Macuga", Tate. Retrieved 4 September 2008.
  3. ^ "Goshka Macuga", PilotLondon. Retrieved 4 September 2008.
  4. ^ Eve M. Kahn (March 11, 2009), Woven ‘Guernica’ Departs U.N. for London New York Times.
  5. ^ Pam Kent (April 21, 2009), After an Expansion, the Whitechapel Gallery Reopens New York Times.
  6. ^ "Goshka Macuga In Conversation with Peter Eeley and Bartholomew Ryan". Walker Art Center. Walker Art Center. Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  7. ^ "Goshka Macuga", Culture.pl. January 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  8. ^ Goshka Macuga: Of what is, that it is; of what is not, that it is not, 2, December 13, 2012 – January 13, 2013 Smart Museum of Art, Chicago.

External links[edit]