Lucy McKenzie (born 1977 in Glasgow, Scotland; lives and works in Brussels, Belgium) and Paulina Olowska (born 1976 in Gdansk, Poland; lives and works in Rabka Zdroj and Krakow, Poland).
“In May 2003 McKenzie and Olowska temporarily ran an underground bar called Nova Popularna in Warsaw, Poland, and held concerts and performances there each week. They designed the bar’s interior, including its murals, curtains, customized second–hand furniture, and sculptures, and bartended with the help of friends and locals. After Nova Popularna closed they began producing works to commemorate and historicize the project. This collaborative series of collages incorporates visual materials that inspired the bar, including images of artworks such as Édouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882) and Edgar Degas’s The Absinthe Drinker (1875–76), along with clippings of models from contemporary fashion magazines and Art Deco interiors from architecture and design publications.”
—Gallery label from “Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection,” Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2009-10.
“The artist sought to inhabit a trope of European 1920s avant-garde, the underground artist salon, to see what relevance it retained, while at the same time reflecting the location of the project’s location in a rapidly changing country.”
—Ted Purves and Shane Aslan Selzer, “No Longer Normal: Critical Exchanges in the Landscape of Art,” in What We Want is Free, Second Edition: Critical Exchanges in Recent Art, eds. Ted Purves and Shane Aslan Selzer (Albany, NY: The SUNY Press, 2014), 148.