Literature Program

Saturday, September 21, 2002


Presented at:

Pat Oleszko returns to Hallwalls for the first time since The Errant Space Museum, her gallery installation of gigantic inflatable sculptures, helped us celebrate our 20th anniversary in April of 1995. The occasion of this month's appearance is the more somber one-year anniversary of September 11. In her new performance work, this longtime Lower Manhattanite, erstwhile WTC tourguide, and post-9/11 rescue support volunteer creates art out of the destruction which devastated her immediate neighborhood.

"Rubble Without Pause is the wry and reflective journey from September 11 at Ground Zero thru the dazed following as a citizen under siege, a rescue worker, and an artist finding another courage. Oleszko tempers this all with much levity and voluminous, startling, and sometimes lyrical visuals highlighting her idiot-syncratic view of the towers as they grow from babies to bulwarks in her 30-year tenure in the neighborhood. The piece, which is seen as a work in progress, is followed by an open discussion which can address Anything and hopes to lead to Something" (Artist's Statement).

Pat Oleszko is a visual and performance artist whose work rages from street to stage to silver screen thru humor by way of absurdity with a nod to exorcism and a bow to the fool. She was bored in Detroit, lives in New York, and has performed whirled wide, from the Easter Parade to MOMA; has been published in magazines from Sesame Street to Artforum and from Ms. to Playboy and Esquire; and has produced 33 short films and videos. For her efforts she has received four NEA grants, three NYFA fellowships, two CAPS grants, a DAAD fellowship, a Bessie Award for Sustained Achievement, a Guggenheim fellowship, and two Tony nominations. Oleszko makes a spectacle of herself-and doesn't mind if you laugh. Known as the "Ms. Tricks of Dese Guise," she has a large body-of work-which includes many unnatural acts. Utilizing elaborate costumes and props, she has created lithe performances, films, and installations that a-dress trees, knees, elephants, breasts, butts, and index fingers, and has staged assordid special events with the cast-off thousands. She most recently spent a year in Italy as a recipient of the prestigious Rome Prize, resulting in much controversy and a night in jail for posing as "The Nincompope."

Oleszko was the headline performer at the 1986 national conference of the National Association of Artists' Organizations (NAAO), co-hosted in Buffalo by Hallwalls and CEPA. Her comic concrete prose piece, "Whirled Trade Center 1 & 2," with text arranged in the form of the twin towers, was published in Blatant Artifice 2/3 (Hallwalls, 1988). In 1988-89, with commissioning grants from the NEA and NYSCA, Hallwalls commissioned Oleszko's first foray into non-solo performance, Humor's "The Oddity," which cast local performers (including Hallwalls staffers) in compromising positions.

Some publications related to this event:
September, 2002 - 2002