Sunday, February 24, 2013

OLEK: THE END IS FAR at Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Being Beautiful by OLEK, Image credit: Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Crocheted cynicism and yarn-covered confections by renowned street artist Olek have found temporary asylum at Chelsea's Jonathan LeVine Gallery. From Feb. 23 to March 23, bright panels referencing riddled romance cover a majority of the gallery walls and stylish skeletons draped in metallic skeins eagerly await visitors. Saturday night's opening of Olek: The End is Far, is a break from the largely anonymous yet notoriously recognizable outdoor yarn-infused "interventions." Keep reading for highlights, but please be forewarned of the adult content (partial nudity) in the photographs to follow.

A crochet-clad character welcomes  in the lobby 

Polish-born Agata Oleksiak, better known as Olek wowed the world with her crocheted creations in the early 2000's, originally by way of bespoke clothing and costumes for dance and currently through public displays and exhibitions. In her words, "The street is the extension of the gallery." Perhaps you have seen Olek's artistic impressions around lower Manhattan adding a bit of brightness and color to the urban streetscape. Target objects include everyday items, modes of transportation, landmarks and even live people.

Olek: The End is Far installation on opening night

At 7PM Saturday (2/23/13), Olek: The End is Far opens quietly, with an androgynous flag bearer welcoming visitors in the lobby. Upstairs, an empty room covered in crochet and a gallery of hanging works pose for curious, camera-clad guests. Suddenly, a mermaid emerges. She takes her place gleefully on a large swing in the middle of the gallery and a second mermaid emerges. She is helped onto a large table in the adjoining exhibition room. A third mermaid is rolled into the crochet-clad space and gingerly takes a seat at the dinner table to complete the feast of artistic expression. 

Olek: The End is Far installation on opening night with a single mermaid appearing

Unlike previous works, themes of femininity, strength, justice and freedom are woven into the overall exhibit through color, material choices and new treatments of type. If you happen to be in the area, swing by and have a look. While the mermaids may be gone, new experiments may be popping up all around... Keep a lookout as you walk the streets of lower Manhattan!

 Olek: The End is Far gallery installation on opening night with two mermaids and a skeleton around the dinner table

Olek: Buddhism is Universal No.1skeleton in front of Olek: Skulls, Sickle and Horeshoe


  1. I love this, thank you for sharing all of these images! I had so wanted to go to the opening, but ended up having to fly out to give a lecture in Canada the next day...was it as amazing as it looks?


    1. Rachel,
      Yes, the opening was Amazing! Olek's artwork inspires me to brighten up my apartment with color... or learn how to crochet--whichever comes first! If you're in town, the exhibit runs until March 23rd and it sounds like they're bringing back the mermaids Thursdays and Saturdays from 2-5PM.

  2. Thanks for highlighting this wonderful artist. Someone to watch! What a comprehensive blog!

    1. Thank you! Olek is definitely a character to keep on the radar :)! I'm always on the lookout for her sporadic creations around town.


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