Archive of Irena Jurek

Irena has written 5 article(s) for AFC.

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Irena Jurek

Skin Game: An Interview with Michael Mahalchick

by Irena Jurek on April 27, 2016
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There may be nothing more distinctive than a Michael Mahalchick show. In the past, his exhibitions have included a mural made during a performance in which he affixed piece of bacon to the wall with their own fat, a stack of Playboy Magazines topped with a hypodermic needle, a gallery full of objects arranged as though they were simply the refuse in a used hotel room of a rock star.

For his fifth solo show at CANADA Gallery, Skin Game, Michael Mahalchick continues to find inspiration in sex, appropriated media, and the history of rock and roll to create a gallery full of darkly romantic pop culture shrines.

We sat down and discussed the significance and the meaning behind the ephemera, and discarded objects he chooses. We also discussed his performances, which have always played a vital role in his work; the last iteration will be taking place May 1 at the gallery

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No Justice: An Interview with Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw

by Irena Jurek on April 15, 2016
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Anyone who’s seen Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw’s work, has zero chance of forgetting it. In the past, their work has involved placing a dinner table and its diners on a hydraulic lift, live chickens, pig fountains, a crawfish food truck, a tour Chelsea tour bus that sold editioned knock offs of famous artworks, and a gallery-sized art-world themed Monopoly game board activated by actual players. That’s not even half of the work they’ve produced.

The point of all this, is to poke fun at contemporary American culture and question the belief systems that inform it. Their current show at Postmasters, “Behold! I teach you the Overman!”, uses their trademark high-energy approach to art making to great effect. It engulfs viewers in installation, video, painting, and performance that simultaneously criticize and celebrate the role of decadence in life and art. It includes a chair that lifts you upward into a ceiling mounted video viewing cube. Inside, a parade of morally ambiguous leaders and characters engage in heavenly glee while consuming mounds of food. In the middle of the gallery, a freestanding grove of trees cover an artificial pond with a functioning boat ride. The forest’s canopy consists of a multi-media video piece starring Catron and Outlaw. In it, an intergalactic sunbathing chair propels an orange-tanned woman towards the intense light of an overpowering tanning bed, alluding to either a nuclear doomsday, or spacial bliss.  

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Michelle Segre with Irena Jurek: On the Uncertain Impermanence of Driftloaf

by Irena Jurek on December 15, 2015
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Last month, Michelle Segre’s show Driftloaf closed at Derek Eller Gallery. The exhibition comprised brightly-painted loaves or slices of bread suspended on pediment-like found objects. They’re familiar but strange, and certainly pique one’s curiosity.

Irena Jurek sat down with Segre, and discussed the show.

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Rebecca Goyette With Irena Jurek: The Terrifying Experience of Ghost Bitch

by Irena Jurek on November 24, 2015
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Between 1692 and 1693, more than twenty people were executed in Massachusetts. They were the victims of a series of trials and persecutions against people accused of witchcraft. Most were women. All but one died of by hanging. During that time, Rebecca Nurse, a 71 year old grandmother known piousness and stature in the community was hung for witchcraft.

Years later, her great, great grandchild, Rebecca Goyette tells a new story, inspired by the events that killed her grandmother. I was lucky enough to be part of the live studio audience for the the filming of her new work “Ghost Bitch: Arise From the Gallows”, which imagines the life of a character by the same name doing historical reenactments by day and dominatrix work by night. She is a modern day witch who works hard to fulfill the expectations of thrill-seeking tourists—and art audiences.

The result was improvisational work of theatre and film that so thoroughly impressed and terrified me I reached out to Goyette to discuss the work. It premieres at the Satellite Art Show in a bandshell on Miami Beach next week, as part of her curatorial project “Extra Teats: A Screening of Bad Ass Puritan-Purging Digital Artwork”. The screening includes works by Katie Cercone, Kerry Downey, Dawn Frasch, Faith Holland, Narcissister, Kenya Robinson. We discuss gender dynamics and power struggles, Ghost Bitch, and the filming of that project and the most frightening art I have ever paid witness to.

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Irony and Isolation: Gavin Kenyon at Ramiken Crucible

by Irena Jurek on March 1, 2013
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Life is a shit hole to be laughed at. So goes the M.O. I imagine for Gavin Kenyon, who, in his latest show at Ramiken Crucible, departs from his painstakingly modeled, homicidal axes, to engage in process-based work. The result is a dynamic and visceral show that draws attention to Kenyon’s caustic, dry wit and his ability to create a sense of bleak isolation.

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