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Jenny Polak
BROOKLYN, NY
Neighborhood: Gowanus



ARTIST STATEMENT: I make site and community responsive art that reframes immigrant-citizen relations, amplifying demands for social justice. My work draws on my background in architecture and includes public and socially engaged projects such as architectural installations, drawings and useful commemorative objects. I come from England - family history of migration drives me to examine detention centers, racial profiling, and strategies for surviving hostile authorities. My fictional firm Design For The Alien Within creates hypothetical hiding and dwelling places, symbolic lookout and counter-surveillance structures. While I was Artist-in-Residence at Northwestern University, I conceived the ongoing project Mobile Speakersí Podium for Citizens and Non-Citizens, which has appeared in several locations around Chicago, supporting community activism against mass incarceration and the for-profit prison industry. My art, collaborations and site-specific projects have been exhibited widely and awarded support by NYFA, the Graham Foundation for the Advanced Study of Visual Art and Franklin Furnace, among others. I have held artist residencies including with the National Park Service, Newark Museum, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.
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  • Mobile Speakers' Podium for Citizens and Non-Citizens
    2016
    steel, siding, plywood, roofing felt, chainlink fence, casters

  • Mobile Speakers' Podium for Citizens and Non-Citizens
    2016
    steel, siding, plywood, roofing felt, chainlink fence, casters

  • (n)IMBY Hobart-Gary Porcelain
    2016
    slipcast porcelain transferware
    Commemorative ceramics made with and for with community members of Gary and Hobart, IN as they strategize to stop a for-profit detention center from being built in their neighbourhood. The images on t

  • (n)IMBY Hobart-Gary Porcelain
    2016
    slipcast porcelain transferware
    Commemorative ceramics made with and for with community members of Gary and Hobart, IN as they strategize to stop a for-profit detention center from being built in their neighbourhood. The images on t

  • (n)IMBY Hobart-Gary Porcelain
    2016
    slipcast porcelain transferware
    Commemorative ceramics made with and for with community members of Gary and Hobart, IN as they strategize to stop a for-profit detention center from being built in their neighbourhood. The images on t

  • Underpainting for a History 1 Villagers and Councilmen Discuss the For-Profit Detention Center Plan
    2015
    Oil paint, charcoal, stitching on linen and batting, (trapunto quilting,) with grommets.
    Two of a set of large quilted history paintings based on discussions with Concerned Citizens of Crete, documentation by community members and news media of the events leading to stopping Corrections C

  • Underpainting for a History 2 Immigrants and Citizens Converge at the For-Profit Detention Center Si
    2015
    Oil paint, charcoal, stitching on linen and batting, (trapunto quilting,) with grommets.
    Two of a set of large quilted history paintings based on discussions with Concerned Citizens of Crete, documentation by community members and news media of the events leading to stopping Corrections C

  • Mobile House for Urban Migrant Workers
    2007
    Wood, tree bark image on billboard vinyl, solar lamp, rain collector.
    Temporary installation for Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Queens, NY, commissioned for Jamaica Flux Festival Hypothetical migrant housing unit camouflaged as a tree-trunk. A fictional design

  • Lookout, Landing!
    2009
    Cedar, stainless steel, solar-powered runway approach lights.

  • Lengua, Libertad!
    2014-2015
    Passers-By, Performance with sign boards, certificates, video
    Still of a 3-day performance in Pedro Albizu Campos Plaza, Lower East Side, New York, (Art in Odd Places 2014: Free and 2015 invited anniversary edition) in which the artist asked passers-by to help t

  • (n)IMBY Ink 3
    2012
    Ink on Bristol paper
    One of a set of Images based on discussions with Concerned Citizens of Crete, documentation by community members and news media of the meetings of the Crete Village Council discussing whether to allow

  • (n)IMBY Hobart-Gary, Ink
    2015 - present
    Ink on Paper
    One of a set of drawings for porcelain transferware made with and for with community members of Gary and Hobart, IN as they strategize to stop a for-profit detention center from being built in their n
 








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