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Artist | Olek


NYC, United States

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About Olek

OLEK’s art explores sexuality, feminist ideals and the evolution of communication through colors, conceptual exploration and meticulous detail. OLEK consistently pushes the boundaries between fashion, art, craft and public art, fluidly combining the sculptural and the fanciful. With the old fashion technique of crocheting, she has taken the ephemeral medium of yarn to express everyday occurrences, inspirations and hopes to create a metaphor for the complexity and interconnectedness of our body and psychological processes.

OLEK’s bursts of bright colors often mask political and cultural critiques woven into the fibers of her installations, mirroring her respect for artists and writers. She highlights that which already exists in the current time and environment. As an active supporter of women’s rights, sexual equality, and freedom of expression, OLEK has used the broad appeal of her work to display her solidarity with those stifled by oppressive laws worldwide. Her transformation of public spaces and objects reflects cultural evolution, mirroring the public response, from those watching and from those within the art.

Born Agata Oleksiak in 1978 in industrial Poland, OLEK’s art was a development that took her away from industrial, close-minded Silesia, Poland.

In 2000, OLEK received a BA in Cultural Studies from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland and relocated to New York City. OLEK’s work has been exhibited in galleries, museums and public spaces worldwide and featured in numerous publications such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, TIME Magazine, Vogue Italia, Newsweek/Daily Beast, Village Voice, Vibe Magazine, Artinfo, PBS, CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC. OLEK is the recipient of the Ruth Mellon Award for sculpture in 2004, In Situ Artaq award (France) in 2011, and a grant in 2011 from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) for performance in public space. OLEK’s residencies have included Sculpture Space in 2005, Instituto Sacatar (Brazil) in 2009 and AAI-LES in 2010. In 2008, OLEK was the winner of the Apex Art competition, which aired on PBS. In 2010, the artist was commissioned by the Brooklyn Museum of Art for a one-day interactive performance installation. In 2012, OLEK was part of the “40 Under 40: Craft Futures” exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery, for which her entire crocheted studio apartment was exhibited. Recently, she has exhibited at Miami Art Basel as part of Women on the Walls at Wynwood Walls and curated by Jeffrey Deitch.

In 2009 OLEK exhibited in Museu do Traje e do Têxtil at the Instituto Feminino da Bahia in Salvador, Brazil, in the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum in Paderborn, Germany from 2012-2013, and in Museum Villa Rot in Burgrieden, Germany from 2013-2014. In 2014, OLEK’s work will be featured as part of the Brooklyn Artists Ball at the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, New York. OLEK’s work will also be exhibited in 2014 as part of the Han Nefken Collection, which commissioned her work as part of “The Future of Fashion is Now” exhibition at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

OLEK regularly partners with private organizations and businesses to give back to the community and supports many non-profit organizations with her artwork. In 2012 OLEK partnered with Kiehl’s by crocheting a work entitled “Mr. Bone” to raise money for Children’s Issues. OLEK is the ambassador for the Jasiek Mela Foundation “Beyond Horizons”. In 2013 she partnered with Elephant Family and created an installation at Lancaster House in London’s West End for an Animal Ball held in the presence of the Royal Family to raise funds to support the preservation of Asian elephants. In 2012 and 2014 OLEK taught crocheting workshops at the municipal jail in Katowice, Poland and together with the inmates created a 20 meter long crochet wall as part of OLEK’s prison-outreach endeavor.

OLEK is also a highly sought-after guest lecturer and speaker. OLEK lectured in 2010 at the 19th Annual Matrilineage Symposium at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York; in 2009 at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, New York and at the Art Academy in Krakow, Poland; and in 2008 at Loyola University, Art and Environmental Studies in New Orleans, Louisiana. OLEK participated in a series of lectures and performances at Colgate University, in Hamilton, New York in 2006 and spoke at the Public Art Symposium: “Beyond the Object” at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York from 2004-2005 at the Material for the Arts, Performing Arts Workshops in New York. In 2014, OLEK will give a lecture at Multikino Zlote Tarasy as part of TEDx Warsaw in Warsaw, Poland.

OLEK currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and is represented by the Jonathan LeVine Gallery. Through her body of work, OLEK has always sought to bring color and life, energy, and surprise to the living space. OLEK’s ongoing goal is to produce new work and share it with the public.



2000 Adam Mickiewicz University. Poznan, Poland. BA, Cultural Studies


2011 Sculpture In Situ, Artaq Award. Paris, France

2011 FUND LMCC Grant for performance in public spaces. New York, NY

2008 Winner of Apex Art gallery’s PBS commercial competition. New York, NY

2007 USArtists International, support for performing arts at international festivals. USA/Poland

2004 The Ruth Mellon Memorial Award For Sculpture. The National Arts Club. New York, NY


2013 One month fully-funded residency. Laznia Center for Contemporary Art. Gdansk, Poland

2010 Nine month artist-in-residency. Workspace, LMCC. New York, NY

2010 Six month artist-in-residency. Artists Alliance. Lower East Side Rotating Studio Program. New York, NY

2009 Two month artist-in-residency, full fellowship. Instituto Sacatar. Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

2005 Two month fully funded artist-in-residency. Sculpture Space. Utica, NY


2013 The End Is Far. Jonathan LeVine Gallery. New York, NY

2012 I do not expect to be a mother but I do expect to die alone. Tony’s Gallery, London, England

2011 The Bad Artists Imitate, The Great Artists Steal. Jonathan LeVine Gallery. New York, NY

2010 Knitting is For Pus****. Christopher Henry Gallery. New York, NY

2010 Kiss Me, I Crochet. LIU Gallery. Brooklyn, NY

2010 99 Cents. G-Train. Brooklyn, NY


2012 40 Under 40. Renwick Gallery. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Washington, DC

2013 Installation for Noise Pop Festival. San Francisco, CA

2012 Make Ends Meet. Flanders Art Gallery. Raleigh, NC

2012 Crocheted diggers for the Katowice Street Art Festival. Katowice, Poland

2012 Installation for Anti-Slavery International’s Follow Your Art – Street Art Against Slavery. Village Underground. London, England

2012 Installation for Bloop Fesitval. Ibiza, Spain

2012 Synthetic Nature. Krause Gallery. New York, NY

2012 Crocheted jacare. SESC interlagos.Sao Paulo, Brazil

2012 Purple. Causey Contemporary. Brooklyn, NY

2012 Installation for PALP Festival. Martigny, Switzerland

2012 Happiness is inside job, installation commissioned by Elements. Hong Kong, China

2011 Otulina. Kordegarda Gallery. Warsaw, Poland

2011 No Women, No Art. Poznan, Poland

2011 Festival of Ideas for the New City. The New Museum. New York, NY

2011 A New Hook. Rethinking Needlework. Museum Bellerive. Zurich, Switzerland

2011 Miss Danger on the Loose: A Female Street Artist Exhibition. Lab Art Gallery. Los Angeles, CA

2011 Made Skateboard. I-20 Gallery. New York, NY

2011 Civilization and its Discontents. Nars Gallery. Brooklyn, NY

2011 Crest Fest. Brooklyn, NY

2011 Sing for Hope — Pop-up Pianos. New York, NY

2011 Laguardia Community College Alumni Art Exhibition. Experimental Space at Reis Studios. L.I.C, NY

2011 Suffolk Deluxe Electric Bicycle. Collaboration with Devan Harlen, NY Studio Gallery. New York, NY

2011 The Sky is Pink, The Room Is Green, installation commissioned by Pacific Design Center, LA

2011 Banzai, Art and Performance Kaleidoscopic Adventure, Brooklyn, NY

2010 Knitting is For Pus****, Scope Art Fair with Christopher Henry Gallery, Miami, FL

2010 Bite: Street Inspired Art and Fashion, third Streaming, NYC

2010 Bring Your Clothes. Commissioned community-based performance. The Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, NY

2010 Interwoven. Evenings in Performance. The Textile Museum. Washington, DC

2010 Collected: Work Space. Cuchifritos Gallery. New York, NY

2010 T minus 20. Christopher Henry Gallery and INGNITE. New York, NY

2010 Weaving In and Out. No Longer Empty. New York, NY

2010 Non-Native NY. Brooklyn, NY

2010 Stand clear of the closing doors. Pandemic Gallery. Brooklyn, NY

2010 Excess and Environment: sustainability in a world of consumption. Art for Global Justice. L.I.C., NY

2010 Glow II. LKC, Z-Bar and streets. Berlin, Germany

2010 Low Lives II — Crocheted Painting To Shake Hands. one-night exhibition of performance-based works transmitted via the Internet. Berlin, Germany

2010 Crocheted Windows. ABC No Rio. New York, NY

2009 Just Bring Your Clothes. Supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Chashama. New York, NY

2009 100% Acrylic 11.07.09 (after Jan van Eyke). Part of SAVOIR-FAIRE, the first annual performance series featuring the work of women artists. Soho20 Gallery. New York, NY

2009 Thank You for Your Visit, Have a Nice Day. Art In Odd Places: SIGN. New York, NY (catalog)

2009 Covers. The Lab Gallery. New York, NY

2009 Tessituras. Museu do Traje e do Têxtil. Salvador, Brazil

2009 Zakamarki, BWA. Galeria Sanocka. Sanok, Poland (catalog)

2009 Viceroy Art. Viceroy Hotel. Miami, FL

2009 Haute-Kraft. Posie Kviat Gallery. Hudon, NY

2009 We Mock What We Don’t Understand. Marmara Gallery. New York, NY

2009 NY ART BEAT First Anniversary Exhibition. DAC. Brooklyn, NY

2009 10% What Happens to You, 90% How You React to It. The Project Space. Brooklyn, NY

2009 Women Forward. WAH Center. Brooklyn, NY (catalog)

2008 How the book is made. New Orleans Biennale. New Orleans, LA

2008 TATENT PReVIEW 09. White Box. New York, NY

2008 Plum Blossom is Beautiful. Blossom is Temporary. BBBP. Bronx, NY

2008 The (Self) Promotion Show. Apexart. New York, NY

2008 12th Annual Under the Bridge DUMBO Art Festival. Brooklyn, NY

2008 U R HERE. Installation for Artichoke Dance Company. Brooklyn, NY

2008 Text Machine. 45 Bleeker Street Theatre. New York, NY

2008 Practical to Poetic: Fiber Invitational. Curated by Ogunsanya. The Art Center. St. Petersburg, FL (catalog)

2008 Women’s Vision, Women’s Voices. St. Mark’s Church. New York, NY

2007 Made in MFTA. Citibank. L.I.C., NY

2007 ARTHaus. Miami, FL

2007 XIV Annual International Contemporary Dance Conference and Performance Festival ’07. Poland

2007 The Liberator — collaborative work with Naomi White. Supreme Trading Gallery. Brooklyn, NY

2007 Attempting the Impossible. Anthology film Archives. curated by Joseph Latimore. NewYork, NY

2007 Borborygami. Installation for Mehr Gallery. New York, NY

2007 Interventions at Colgate University. 30th Anniversary of Sculpture Space. Hamilton, NY

2007 and Company. New 42nd Street Studios. The Construction Company, NY

2007 1000 nows. Shua Group. Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church. New York, NY

2007 Labatorio di danza contemporania. Venice, Italy


Off Book: Street Art episode (featured artists: Swoon and Olek). PBS Arts. September 28, 2011

Cheney, Alexandra. The Artist Who Keeps New York in Stitches. The Wall Street Journal. pA22. August 9, 2011.

Gopnik, Blake. The World’s Most Crochet-y Artist. Newsweek/Daily Beast. July 25, 2011

Cooper, Ashton. Hardcore Yarn. ARTINFO. August 18, 2011. Slideshow: Christofourous, Alexis. A Crocheted World. CBS News. July 22, 2011

Wollan, Malia. Graffiti’s Cozy, Feminine Side. The New York Times. Thursday, May 19, 2011 (Styles pE1-E2) + Related NYT online content: Getting Cozy in Public (slideshow) and A Wooly Trend (video)

Goodman, Wendy. 6 Spaces, 6 Obsessions. New York Magazine. May 9, 2011

Olek Crochets Everything. NBC News, February 6, 2011

Olek: Crocheted Charging Bull. Design Boom. January 2011

Caporosso, Michele Wad. Crochet Art: The Yarn and Hook Guerilla. VOGUE, Italy. January 13, 2011

Green, Grace. Wall Street Bull Covered in Crochet by NYC Artist Olek. Huffington Post. January 4, 2011

Comstock, Courtney. WATCH: Guerilla Artist Crochet the Wall Street Bull in Neon Yarn. Business Insider. January 3, 2011

Blanco, Octavio. Cozy Wall Street Bull Sends the Warmest Wishes. CNN Money. December 28, 2011

Doll, Jenn. Wall Street Bull Gets Snazzy New Yarn Coat, Briefly. The Village Voice. December 27, 2010

Crazy Holiday Sweaters. Even Wall Street’s Charging Bull Gets One. ABC News. December 2010

Exclusive Interview with Crocheted Olek: On Wall Street’s Bull and More. December 29, 2010

Exhibit See: Olek’s “Knitting is for Pussies” Opens Tonight at Christopher Henry Gallery (NYC). COMPLEX. January 5th

Selley, Melissa. Knit Wit: Better than Fashion. PAPER Magazine. Winter issue 2010/11, p. 97-99

Cashdan, Marina. Art Basel Miami: Three Galleries to Visit. DETAILS. December 2010, page 72

Hanks, Douglas. Satellite Fairs thrive around Art Basel. The Miami Herald. November 30, 2010

Kaleem, Jaweek. Olek is keeping everyone (and everything) in stitches at SCOPE. The Miami Herald. December 2nd

Kaganskiy, Julia. One Artist's Strange Compulsion To Cover The World In Crochet. The Creator’s Project. February 24, 2011

Siemaszko, Corky. Meet New York’s Queen of Crochet – she leaves city in stitches from walls to Wall Street. NY Daily News. Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wrap Up Warm: Artist shows off her wacky woolly wonderland (and admits her passion drives her loopy). Daily Mail, UK. November 25, 2010, 2011, 2010


Blakley Kinsler, Gwen. The Fine Art of Crochet: 150 Innovative Designs by 20 Contemporary Artists. Voyageur Press, 2010

Lambrovassilis, Alexandros & Peklaris, Achilles. Hopes, Dreams and Hard Times NYC. Greece, 2010. p80-81

Johnson, Amanda & Hallett, Clive. Fabric for Fashion. UK, 2010. p27

Nii, Yuko. Women Forward. Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, 2009. p58, 59

Vincent, Lin with Waller, Sydney. Sculpture Space. 2007. p. 76, 85


2010 OCD, The Art of Obsession. BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center. New York, NY

2010 Lecture at Stern College/Yeshiva University. New York, NY

2010 Lecture at 19th Annual Matrilineage Symposium. Syracuse University. Syracuse, NY

2009 Lecture at LaGuardia Community College. L.I.C., NY

2009 Lecture at Art Academy. Krakow, Poland

2008 Lecture at Loyola University. Art and Environmental Studies. New Orleans, LA

2007 Series of lectures and performances. Colgate University. Hamilton, NY

2006 Public Art Symposium: “Beyond the Object” – at Colgate University. Hamilton, NY

2005 The Material for the Arts. Performing Arts Workshops. New York, NY

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