Texas Observer review: A Houston Art Exhibit Gazes Unflinchingly at the Cruelty of Mass Incarceration discusses the ‘Walls Turned Sideways’ exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, including a description of my site-specific ICE-Escape Sign.
By Michael Hardy, September 6, 2018
Hyperallergic article In The Event of an ICE Raid Please Follow These Signs discusses the ICE Escape Signs series, some of which are on display at Fiendish Plots in Lincoln, NE, in my show with Dread Scott, “I’m Afraid of Americans.”
By Hrag Vartanian, March 2, 2018
Lincoln Journal-Star: ‘I’m Afraid of Americans’ is a provocative exhibit
By L. Kent Wolgamott, February 10, 2018
Hyperallergic review of the Mobile Speakers’ Podium for Citizens and Non-Citizens first public installation and activation at Comfort Station, Logan Square, Chicago
By Kate Sierzputowski, July 22 2016
ArtCritical Social Justice in the Studio and in the Street: Art and Activism at Franklin Street Works
By Danilo Machado, July 6, 2015
Bedford + Bowery (NY Magazine blog) With ‘Respond’ the Anti-Police-Brutality-Movement Reaches the Gallery
By Nicole Disser, January 29 2015
Scroll down for an image of my installation at Smack Mellon
n.paradoxa International Feminist Journal, volume 34, Lessons from History, pp.66-72
‘Jenny Polak: Exposing/Hiding Citizen/Non-Citizen’
By Anne Shea July 2014
Bad at Sports (contemporary art talk) website
Artist Profile: Jenny Polak
Interview by Juliana Driever November 27 2013
LL Journal, CUNY Graduate Center, Vol 5 No. 2
The Un-accounted Body in Performance: Who is the Subject of the Rights of the Illegal Alien?
By Laura V. Sández (Fordham University) 2010
“Design for the Alien Within asks: “Under what circumstances do people take action to assist friends, family, colleagues to evade repressive governments?””
WagMag Brooklyn Art Guide
By Enrico Gomez Feb 2010
Review of “The No-Place” at BRIC Rotunda Gallery
“…In “The No Place”, Ferrer assembles a discourse on the notions of Dystopia, Utopia and the spectrum in between. The artwork’s exceptional, especially … the brilliant installation “Design for the Alien Within” by Jenny Polak which references the exchange of risk and trust between the oppressed and their allies.”
Peabody Journal of Education, Vol 85 No. 4
Unframing Immigration: Looking Through the Educational Space of Contemporary Art
By Dipti Desai (NYU) 2010
New York Times
From Young Storytellers, a Playful Tone
By Benjamin Genocchio August 26, 2007
Review of “Emerge 8” at Aljira Center for Contemporary Art.
“Ms. Polak’s work, in the grandeur of its conception and its intelligent execution, stands at the pinnacle of the group. She tackles the issue of immigration, making maps and paintings of worksites in the New York City area where illegal immigrants have been found. One cannot help being moved by the plight of these people.”
Excerpt from Krzysztof Wodiczko’s Commencement Address
Maine College of Art
May 16, 2004
“Historically, in wartime, artists are often put to work making camouflage. In the present time of an undeclared state of war, Jenny Polak’s designs parasitical artificial ceilings, double ceilings which function in “real” life as ingenious hiding places. They keep their users, undocumented “Arab” immigrants, purposely invisible, and safe when deportation-thirsty immigration officers arrive. A kind of camouflage for endangered species. In addition to this trouble making practice the artist is showing her ceiling prototypes in art exhibitions. In real world she helps immigrants to hide while through the artworld (and cultural attention) she makes the immigrants enforced invisibility––visible.
A good double ceiling.
A good double trouble.”
The Brooklyn Rail
Review of “Exit Biennial: The Reconstruction” at Exit Art
By William Powhida june-july 2003
“…the show features other types of habitable spaces that engage ideas of home, sanctuary, and identity in ways that are aesthetically and critically interesting. Jenny Polak’s “Situ Sanctuary,” for instance, takes up these issues in a politically charged, interactive installation which provides a hiding place inside the gallery. Initially it appears to be a video monitor installed in a column surrounded by documents on illegal aliens, but the column opens to reveal a ladder inside. The uncomfortable climb leads to a hiding place in the connecting beam that has its own surveillance equipment. Polak’s sanctuary is also a stunning piece of facsimile, easily mimicking the real columns, and the hiding place blends into the periphery of the ceiling. The broader political implications of the necessity of such a hiding place offer a unique vantage point on what constitutes safety and security in Patriot Act America.”
“Within Walls and Memories: Dimensions of Detention”
Review of HardPlace web project.
By Matt Mirapaul, June 10 2002 (click to download a PDF)