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Pat Oleszko, visual and performance artist

Residency Number: 
Residency Dates: 
Monday, February 18, 2013 to Sunday, March 10, 2013
Application Deadline: 
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Pat Oleszko, visual and performance artist, ACA Master Artist for Residency #148

Bored in Detroit. A life in New York.

Pat Oleszko has a large body--of work--laboring heavily under dis-guise, the world is a stooge. Making pedestrian sculpture has been the access to excesses in a variety of situations, subversions and insinuations. Her work in the popular art forums of the street, party, burlesque house, beauty contest and parade, have lead to the more proscribed forums of the one-person show, installations with lithe accompaniment, films with spatial effects, events with the cast-off thousands all addled and abetted by much puntification and uttered shenanigans. Oleszko has worked in scale from performances at the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center, Documenta to King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut and her annual appearance in the New York Easter parade. In addition to making a spectacle of herself, she has costumed trees, knees, seas, fountains, breasts, butts, elephants and index fingers as commensurate characters for performance. Her inflated sense of self has also created myriad pneumatic sculptures that range from costume to rocket ship. She was chosen as part of the US cultural presentation (as comic relief) for the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, and, has continuously toured the US, Canada, Europe and Japan in the past years, performing at museums, galleries, colleges, festivals and theaters (although curiously she was sent a one-way ticket to a festival in Poland). Oleszko's magazine appearances cover a similar range, from art-tickles in Penthouse, Playboy and Esquire to cover girl for Ms (as the Statue of Liberty), and features in Artforum, Sesame Street and The New Yorker. She has made over 40 short films, appeared on various TV shows, in the occasional big movie and starred in Bette Midler’s Mondo Beyondo on HBO.

She has been recipient of a wide variety of grants and awards including multiple Fellowships from both the National Endowment for the Arts and The New York Foundation of the Arts, the Jim Henson Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the DAAD (to live in Brrrrlin for a year) and more temperately, the Rome Prize. She received the NY Dance and Performance Award for Sustained Achievement (a “Bessie) and was twice nominated for the New York Theater Wing Award (a “Tony”). The New York Times calls her “A ribald performance artist whose work charms as it disarms using satire, subversion and unabashed silliness. The sculptures and performances show us a contemporary artist whose body is both the seat of politics and a body of art.” A-warts and all, she has worn radishes as big as diamonds and, has actually sewn wild oats. The truth squirts.

Artist Statement

I see art as a verb, an action on which to hang notions in motion. Performance creates a three-dimensional idea as a timely integration of the outside world with interior life. The challenge is not simply communication but revelation. This transient medium must find its unique voice, even if it quacks. The stage on which it steps and risks taken can make the concept, and the event vital and resonant. Make no mistake, wearing your art on your sleeve is masking for trouble. Using the body as a tool demands attention and interplay between viewer and artist. The process can engage hope, hype, passion and fear for both parties but the rewards, even the humiliation, is worth it. Performance breathes life into an idea. 

I am interested in people that can work both independently and collaboratively. Bring ideas and material to create individual piece(s) including some notions on working with a group as they will be a unique part of your resources. Work need not be limited to personal investigations and presentation at the Center but can respond to the entire geographic, political, environmental and social aspects of the grande beleaguered Floridian peninsula. There will be, naturally, critiques, presentations, individual pursuits, all night work sessions, pizza, tests of strength, skill and valor, and the occasional all-in-a-day’s-work-Walpurgisnacht. The importance of the residency will become apparent in the battle between work and reflection but, with apologies to Mies, more is more.

Applicantion Requirements

  • Letter of Intent: please include information about your work and process, why this residency would be good for you, and what you are working on currently (.doc, .docx, .pdf)
  • Résumé (.doc, .docx, .pdf file)
  • 20 digital images (.jpg) of recent work with a document including descriptions.
  • and/or up to 20 minutes of online video (please include links to Youtube or Vimeo videos in a seperate document), ACA can not accept video uploads to our submission site.
  • Any other uploadable materials that might be relevant

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance of up to $800 is available for painters and sculptors through The Joan Mitchell Foundation. Upon notification of acceptance, artists requesting financial assistance must submit ACA Financial Aid forms.