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Presidential Performance Art

Katy Bea Marinez-Arizala is ready for her haircut.



Artists have long ignored the boundaries of presidential etiquette. Consider when Elvis walked into the White House with a Colt automatic handgun -- a gift for President Nixon. Katy Bea Martinez-Arizala, a Cuban-American artist, is trying to push those boundaries, but this time it's with a pair of scissors. 

The 24-year-old artist, whose work is on display at Corporate Museum and Frame, has grown her hair for eight years since the beginning of the Bush administration. Along with her eight-year growth, Martinez-Arizala plans to meet with President Obama and give him a Shephard Fairey-esque painting consisting of 352 squares and the opportunity to cut her hair.

Her motive for such a trimming: “Opposition to violence and gender objectification” as stated on her site, Now Obama, the recent Nobel Peace Prize winner, may have one more item to add to his resume: performance artist. According to the Martinez-Arizala site, the act of cutting her hair is a symbol, along with the sacrificing of her aesthetic, the painting of Obama and even the staged surreal photos of herself wearing a skeleton costume and a paper bag on her head.

If one artist could push the boundaries of presidential interaction, why not another in the name of peace? But then again, that was Elvis we were talking about before.

Hairpeace 2009 runs at Corporate and Museum Frame, 301 W. Broad St., until Nov. 30. For information call 643-6858 or visit or


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