OLEK /   Agata Oleksiak

United States 1978

Urban Interventions, Yarn Bombing


Agata Oleksiak
United States
April 15, 2014
Jean is researcher and author for Widewalls. jean.gallard@widewalls.ch

Olek was born Agata Oleksiak in 1978 in Poland. In 2000, she received a BA in Cultural Studies from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland and relocated to New York City, where she is currently based. Olek’s work has been exhibited in galleries, museums and public spaces worldwide and featured in numerous publications such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Newsweek/Daily Beast, Village Voice, Artinfo, PBS, CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Olek is the recipient of the Ruth Mellon Award for sculpture in 2004, In Situ Artaq award (France) in 2011, and a grant in 2011 from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) for performance in public space. Olek’s residencies have included Sculpture Space in 2005, Instituto Sacatar (Brazil) in 2009 and AAI-LES in 2010. In 2008, Olek was the winner of the Apex Art competition, which aired on PBS.

In 2010, the artist was commissioned by the Brooklyn Museum of Art for a one-day interactive performance installation. In 2012, Olek was part of the 40 Under 40: Craft Futures exhibition at the Smithsonian, for which her entire crocheted studio apartment was exhibited.

Olek bases her practice on covering people and objects in snug crocheted cozies; as the artist puts it, “my madness becomes crochet.” She has used her craft to re-create popular imagery and well-known art in the form of installations and performances, including works by Banksy and Annie Leibovitz’s 1986 portrait of Keith Haring.

Yarn bombing street art
Crocheted Stable – Poland

Olek often includes text in her works, like medical reports, text messages, and famously provocative quotes by Marilyn Monroe and Madonna. Olek’s work is commonly spotted around New York, where she has covered cars, chained bicycles, Bernard Rosenthal’s Astor Place Cube, and Wall Street’s charging bull statue. While her characteristic crochet motif is a camouflage pattern in fluorescent colors, recently her works have tended towards gray scale. Olek also wears her own crocheted creations.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
201310 Years of Wooster Collective: 2003—2013Jonathan LeVine Gallery, NYGroup
2013The End Is FarJonathan LeVine Gallery. New York, NYSolo
2013Installation for Noise Pop FestivalSan Francisco, CAGroup
2012I do not expect to be a mother but I do expect to die aloneTony’s Gallery, London, EnglandSolo
201240 Under 40Renwick Gallery. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Washington, DCGroup
2012Make Ends MeetFlanders Art Gallery. Raleigh, NCGroup
2012Crocheted diggers for the Katowice Street Art FestivalKatowice, PolandGroup
2012Installation for Anti-Slavery International’s Follow Your Art – Street Art Against SlaveryVillage Underground, London, EnglandGroup
2012Installation for Bloop FesitvalIbiza, SpainGroup
2012Synthetic NatureKrause Gallery. New York, NYGroup
2012Crocheted jacareSESC interlagos.Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
2012PurpleCausey Contemporary. Brooklyn, NYGroup
2012Installation for PALP FestivalMartigny, SwitzerlandGroup
2012Happiness is inside job, installation commissioned by ElementsHong Kong, ChinaGroup
2011The Bad Artists Imitate, The Great Artists StealJonathan LeVine Gallery. New York, NYSolo
2011OtulinaKordegarda Gallery. Warsaw, PolandGroup
2011No Women, No ArtPoznan, PolandGroup
2011Festival of Ideas for the New CityThe New Museum. New York, NYGroup
2011A New Hook. Rethinking NeedleworkMuseum Bellerive. Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
2011Miss Danger on the Loose: A Female Street Artist ExhibitionLab Art Gallery. Los Angeles, CAGroup
2011Made SkateboardI-20 Gallery. New York, NYGroup
2011Civilization and its DiscontentsNars Gallery. Brooklyn, NYGroup
2011Crest FestBrooklyn, NYGroup
2011Sing for HopePop-up Pianos. New York, NYGroup
2011Laguardia Community College Alumni Art ExhibitionExperimental Space at Reis Studios. L.I.C, NYGroup
2011Suffolk Deluxe Electric BicycleNY Studio Gallery. New York, NYGroup
2011The Sky is Pink, The Room Is GreenInstallation commissioned by Pacific Design Center, LAGroup
2011Banzai, Art and Performance Kaleidoscopic AdventureBrooklyn, NYGroup
2010Knitting is For Pus****Christopher Henry Gallery. New York, NYSolo
2010Kiss Me, I CrochetLIU Gallery. BSolo
2010Scope Art FairChristopher Henry Gallery, Miami, FLGroup
2010Bite: Street Inspired Art and FashionThird Streaming, NYCGroup
2010Bring Your Clothes. Commissioned community-based performanceThe Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, NYGroup
2010Interwoven. Evenings in PerformanceThe Textile Museum. Washington, DCGroup
2010Collected: Work SpaceCuchifritos Gallery. New York, NYGroup
2010T minus 20Christopher Henry Gallery and INGNITE. New York, NYGroup
2010Weaving In and Out. No Longer EmptyNew York, NYGroup
2010Non-Native NYBrooklyn, NYGroup
2010Stand clear of the closing doorsPandemic Gallery. Brooklyn, NYGroup
2010Excess and Environment: sustainability in a world of consumptionArt for Global Justice. L.I.C., NYGroup
2010Glow II. LKC, Z-Bar and streetsBerlin, GermanyGroup
2010Low Lives II — Crocheted Painting To Shake Handsone-night exhibition of performance-based works transmitted via the Internet. Berlin, GermanyGroup
2010Crocheted WindowsABC No Rio. New York, NYGroup
2009Just Bring Your ClothesChashama. New York, NYGroup
2009100% Acrylic 11.07.09Soho20 Gallery. New York, NYGroup
2009CoversThe Lab Gallery. New York, NYGroup
2009TessiturasMuseu do Traje e do Têxtil. Salvador, BrazilGroup
2009 Zakamarki, BWAGaleria Sanocka. Sanok, PolandGroup
2009Viceroy ArtViceroy Hotel. Miami, FLGroup
2009Haute-KraftPosie Kviat Gallery. Hudon, NYGroup
2009We Mock What We Don’t UnderstandMarmara Gallery. New York, NYGroup
2009NY ART BEAT First Anniversary ExhibitionDAC. Brooklyn, NYGroup
200910% What Happens to You, 90% How You React to ItThe Project Space. Brooklyn, NYGroup
2009Women ForwardWAH Center. Brooklyn, NY (catalog)Group
2008How the book is madeNew Orleans Biennale, New Orleans, LAGroup
2008TATENT PReVIEW 09White Box. New York, NYGroup
2008Plum Blossom is Beautiful. Blossom is TemporaryBBBP. Bronx, NYGroup
2008The (Self) Promotion ShowApexart. New York, NYGroup
200812th Annual Under the Bridge DUMBO Art FestivalBrooklyn, NYGroup
2008U R HERE. Installation for Artichoke Dance CompanyBrooklyn, NYGroup
2008Text Machine45 Bleeker Street Theatre. New York, NYGroup
2008Practical to Poetic: Fiber InvitationalThe Art Center. St. Petersburg, FL (catalog)Group
2008Women’s Vision, Women’s VoicesSt. Mark’s Church. New York, NYGroup
2007Made in MFTACitibank. L.I.C., NYGroup
2007ARTHausMiami, FLGroup
2007XIV Annual International Contemporary Dance Conference and Performance Festival ’07PolandGroup
2007The LiberatorSupreme Trading Gallery. Brooklyn, NYGroup
2007Attempting the ImpossibleAnthology film Archives, New York, NYGroup
2007Borborygami, Installation for Mehr GalleryMehr Gallery. New York, NYGroup
2007Interventions at Colgate UniversityColgate University, Hamilton, NYGroup
200730th Anniversary of Sculpture SpaceSculpture Space, Hamilton, NYGroup
20071000 nows. Shua Group. Danspace ProjectSt. Mark's Church. New York, NYGroup
2007Labatorio di danza contemporaniaVenice, ItalyGroup