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Jenny Polak
updated: 07/30/2009
website: www.jennypolak.com
 
   
 
 
     
 
Artwork Title
art-medium
art-year
dimensions
Click thumbnails for full view:
 
Escape from San Pedro 1 of 10
track the ICE raids
Design for the Alien Within web site screen: Headboard.
Design for the Alien Within: the Media Center
Design for the Alien Within: the Media Center built
In Sity Sanctuary 1st Iteration: Beam and Column
Sanctuary 4th Iteration: False Wall
ICE-Escape Sign 2 - Queens Library Gallery
ICE-Escape Sign - White Box Gallery
Return to Sender: the Raided Worksites (detail)
Tumbling Down
342.7308 SECRET LIBRARY of immigration law
342.7308 SECRET LIBRARY of immigration law 2
Tower Kit, No Crane Required
Tower Kit, No Crane Required (interior)
 
Portfolio Keywords:  architecture, collaborative, conceptual, consumer culture, diagrammatic, mapping, political, public, social criticism, site-specific
 
 
Escape from San Pedro 1 of 10 by Jenny Polak
Escape from San Pedro 1 of 10
Digital drawing
2005
Dimensions variable
track the ICE raids  by Jenny Polak
track the ICE raids
web based art
2004 - 2009
Dimensions variable
Design for the Alien Within web site screen: Headboard. by Jenny Polak
Design for the Alien Within web site screen: Headboard.
Digital drawing
2006
Dimensions variable
Design for the Alien Within: the Media Center by Jenny Polak
Design for the Alien Within: the Media Center
pencil on paper and tracing paper
2005
5" x  7" 
Design for the Alien Within: the Media Center built by Jenny Polak
Design for the Alien Within: the Media Center built
MDF, paint, digital output on foamcore
2006
72 " x  60 "  x 36 " 
In Sity Sanctuary 1st Iteration: Beam and Column by Jenny Polak
In Sity Sanctuary 1st Iteration: Beam and Column
plywood, paint, surveillance cameras, monitors
2003
192" x  132"  x 24" 
Sanctuary 4th Iteration: False Wall by Jenny Polak
Sanctuary 4th Iteration: False Wall
Coroplast, metal stud, builders' line, signs
2006
120" x  216"  x 36" 
ICE-Escape Sign 2 - Queens Library Gallery by Jenny Polak
ICE-Escape Sign 2 - Queens Library Gallery
Laminated archival inkjet print
2007
11" x  11" 
ICE-Escape Sign - White Box Gallery by Jenny Polak
ICE-Escape Sign - White Box Gallery
C-Print face-mounted on Plexiglas
2008
7" x  12" 
Return to Sender: the Raided Worksites (detail) by Jenny Polak
Return to Sender: the Raided Worksites (detail)
Acryllic paint on paper on foamcore each disc about 8" across
2006-2007
Dimensions variable
Tumbling Down by Jenny Polak
Tumbling Down
Digital image
2008
Dimensions variable
342.7308 SECRET LIBRARY of immigration law by Jenny Polak
342.7308 SECRET LIBRARY of immigration law
acrylic and chalk on canvas
2009
9'" x  7'" 
342.7308 SECRET LIBRARY of immigration law 2 by Jenny Polak
342.7308 SECRET LIBRARY of immigration law 2
acrylic and chalk on canvas
2009
6'" x  9'" 
Tower Kit, No Crane Required by Jenny Polak
Tower Kit, No Crane Required
cardboard, wood, surveillance camera, monitor, stencil
2008
21'" x  7'"  x 5'" 
Tower Kit, No Crane Required (interior) by Jenny Polak
Tower Kit, No Crane Required (interior)
cardboard, wood, surveillance camera, monitor, stencil
2008
Dimensions variable

Artist Statement
Jenny Polak is an artist making architectural installation, drawings and web projects. Her designer alter ego, Design For The Alien Within, promotes hypothetical hiding and dwelling places to accommodate people without immigration documents. Posing as modern furniture or infrastructural elements, the works infuse design logic with the dangers of today’s immigration politics. The cultural resonances of visibility and secrecy and the cheery terms of interior design consumption recast immigrant-citizen struggles at home, at work, and in prison. In alluding to illegal assistance of undocumented and stateless people, she draws both on family history and current events.

Artist Bio / CV
I was born in England and have degrees in Architecture from Cambridge University and in Art from St. Martins School of Art, London. I came to New York 1990 to get an MFA at the School of Visual Arts, and stayed for a Fellowship at the Whitney Independent Study Program. My window installation for the Lower East Side Tenement Museum Trojan Horse Travel Agency is on view through December 2007, and starting September 2007 I will be showing new work at the Soap Factory, Minneapolis and in Jamaica Flux, Queens. My family history of hiding and migration drives my work, which encompasses drawing, architectural installation and web-based art.
My designer alter ego, DESIGN FOR THE ALIEN WITHIN, currently designs built-in hiding places for undocumented people. In a 1995 residency at Sculpture Space, Utica I had begun to analyze and create architectural forms for the hiding of fugitives. I recently made fictional hiding places for people without documents during residencies at the Newark Museum, Islip Art Museum and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
A residency with the Lower East Side Tenement Museum enabled my first web project, digital models of immigrant detention sites. The 2006 launch of the initial online version of DESIGN FOR THE ALIEN WITHIN was supported by a 2005 Franklin Furnace Future of the Present award and a 2006 Digital Matrix award.
I have exhibited widely in the US and the UK, for example in the Newark Museum and the Whitechapel Art Gallery. In London, I participated in the first exhibition of British Jewish Women artists and in New York, in the 2003 inaugural exhibition of Exit Art’s new building. I have worked with such public artists’ groups as the Art for Change (UK) and RepoHistory collective (US). My work has been discussed in the New York Times, the Village Voice, the Guardian (UK), Brooklyn Rail, Artthrob (South Africa), on New York 1 and on Public Radio in Australia.