Pat Oleszko performance piece

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Date: 2007

Region: North America

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Performance Art


Artist: Pat Oleszko

Confronting Bodies: Tom Steele, president of the board of the Artists Alliance of East Hampton.

Date of Action: July, 2007

Location: East Hampton, New York

Description of Artwork: A performance piece in which an actor dressed in a costume of President George W. Bush was to be stripped naked and covered in red, white, and blue paint.

The Incident: Mr. Steele called Pat Oleszko and asked her to change her performance to something less political, so as not to offend donators to the non-profit organization. She rejected the request and Steele cancelled the show, saying it was because of weak ticket sales.

Results of Incident: The board was split on the decision that Steele made. More than half were not in favor of censorship. One member even resigned and left a plan to resurrect the board completely. However, most members respected the fact that Steele made a choice within a very small timeframe and did not blame him for it.

Steele's reasoning for the cut was in the interests of those who paid. He believes that a piece relying on shock value should not have been sprung upon them without notice. He offered to reschedule and place warnings on the new flyers, but Oleszko refused. Oleszko said her defense was a matter of principles. She was doing the piece as a favor to someone on the board and would barely cover her expenses.

Source: The East Hampton Star