Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Mad Hattery of Pat Oleszko



Pat Oleszko, photo by Heidi Kumao

The magic of VCCA's The Commission event on May 10, 2014 was enhanced this year by the unexpected appearance of VCCA's current Fellows in residence sporting amazing headgear engineered and created by Pat Oleszko, also in residence.  As the Fellows climbed down from the shuttle bus and donned their chapeau du jour, the party was punctuated with the sparkle of color, humor, and unexpected design feats made from cast-off and recycled materials.  Oleszko herself was dressed as "Garlic O'Hara" in full ante-bellum garb, featuring a great wig made from the pages of a discarded book.  At this year's event, name tags were not needed to distinguish the VCCA Fellows from the other guests. 

Esther Podemski, VCCA writer from Brooklyn, NY,
and Eric Moe, VCCA composer from Pittsburgh, PA
photo by Heidi Kumao
Pat Oleszko regularly makes a spectacle of herself. Utilizing elaborate costumes and props, she creates performances, films, installations, inflatables, and spatial events. She has worked from the popular art forms of the street, party, parade, and burlesque house, to the fields, oceans, mountains, deserts and trailer parks, from the Museum of Modern Art, Documenta, the Olympics and Lincoln Center, to Sesame Street Magazine, Ms, Playboy and Artforum.  

Karin Fleischer, VCCA visual artist from Germany,
photo by Camden Littleton  
VCCA Fellows Heidi Kumao, Esther Podemski, Karin Fleischer, Eric Moe,
Pat Oleszko, Valerie Miner, Rosa Valado, Elaine Orr, David Garratt, and Barbara Weissberger, photo by Heidi Kumao

Oleszko's work has been widely exhibited and recognized. She has received four NEA fellowships, three New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowships, the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim, a DAAD (Berlin), several Tony nominations, a Jim Henson grant, a Bessie (NY Dance & Theater Award for Sustained Excellence). 

The proceeds from The Commission 2014 go to support residencies by some of the world's best visual artists, writers, and composers. 

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