Local Artist’s Work Featured In Aniston’s Latest Film

Nomaan Merchant

For one local sculptor, a piece her classmates originally didn’t like ended up in an art gallery run by Jennifer Aniston.

Greta Zakrzewska’s ceramic sculpture of a 3-ft. tall gray creature was on display last summer at Gallery Mornea, 600 Davis St., when it caught the eye of a Hollywood set designer in town to film “The Break Up,” which came out this June.

The production team for the movie, which also features Vince Vaughn, rented the sculpture from the gallery for several months. Aniston, who plays the manager of an art gallery, refers to it in the movie as a “Zakrzewska” when pitching it to a customer.

Zakrzewska, who before the movie had received limited exposure through her work at Gallery Mornea, was “completely excited.”

But Zakrzewska, who just finished graduate work in fine arts at Northern Illinois University, said she still doesn’t know what the unique piece represents and doesn’t want to give others ideas on its meaning.

“I just grab some clay and whatever I see turning out, I go with it,” Zakrzewska said.

On her web site, Zakrzewska, who has created over 100 sculptures, writes that she does not judge her own work with “traditional aesthetic evaluations.” She said her everyday life serves as inspiration for her work, which focuses on “anything and everything.”

“She likes to make these grotesque structures, and that’s evolved into a life of art for her,” said Gallery Mornea manager Richard Davis.

Davis said he was amused during the movie by the confusion caused in the theater when Aniston mentioned Zakrzewska, but soon more visitors stopped by the gallery to look at the piece, which was on display in the front window.

“I would sit in the front of the gallery and one of (every) two people would react out there,” Davis said.

But passers-by can no longer see the distinctive sculpture from Davis Street. Instead, the piece sits in a back room near Davis’ desk.

“I didn’t think it was consonant with the other art in the front,” Davis said.

Earlier this week, Zakrzewska and Davis listed it for sale on eBay. Davis hopes the piece, which Zakrzewska still owns, will draw over $1200, its estimated value.

“We believe that somebody out there would like to have their piece from a major motion picture movie,” Davis said.

Even though Aniston referred to her by name, Zakrzewska said mainly family and friends noticed her achievement – and not her former classmates.

“I still got an ‘A’ in the class though,” Zakrzewska said.

Reach Nomaan Merchant at [email protected]