new-york

View of “Goshka Macuga,” 2012. Foreground: Daybed for the Spirit of Polish Culture, 2012. Background: The Letter, 2012.

Goshka Macuga

Andrew Kreps Gallery

View of “Goshka Macuga,” 2012. Foreground: Daybed for the Spirit of Polish Culture, 2012. Background: The Letter, 2012.

If Poland—“God’s playground,” in historian Norman Davies’s pithy phrase—didn’t invent black comedy, it has surely produced some of the wryest examples of tragic-absurd performance throughout its fraught post–World War II period. Take Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958), one of Roman Polanski’s early films, in which two men emerge from the sea carrying a large wardrobe, only to be beaten with a dead cat by a group of local toughs, or Tadeusz Konwicki’s novel A Minor Apocalypse (1979), which follows the slapstick tribulations of a hungover middle-aged man who wanders the streets of Warsaw, gas can in tow, harassed by cops and others as he considers his fellow dissident artists’ petition that he self-immolate before the party headquarters. As the site of the public’s curiosity and abuse, the city street is central to this tradition, and artist Goshka Macuga has returned to the

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