Marisa Olson is an artist, writer, curator, and former punk singer. In 2004 she auditioned for popular American television show American Idol as an artistic project. Over the course of three months of daily "training exercises," it is revealed that she is critiquing gender norms entrenched by the show, while also using the popularity of her site to speak to readers about using their voice to vote in elections as well as on the show. Her work combines performance, video, painting/drawing, and installation to address the cultural history of technology, experiences of gender, and the relationship between pop culture and politics. Olson was a founding member of the Nasty Nets' "Internet Surfing Club", a web-based net art group documenting and remixing their experiences online. Through Nasty Nets and with the sponsorship. Olson is an active writer and lecturer in the field of media theory and politics. She has also been a visiting artist at Yale, SAIC, VCU, Oberlin, UT-Austin, UW-Madison, Penn, and elsewhere. She has been a Master Artist in Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, an Eyebeam Resident, and an Artist in Residence at the Corwin Physics Labs at the University of Oregon.
Curator and critic
She has organized exhibitions and programs at the Guggenheim, SFMOMA, the Getty, White Columns, Artists Space, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and elsewhere, including Rhizome, where she was Editor and Curator, and SF Camerawork, where she was previously Associate Director. She's written for Wired, Mute, Afterimage, Flash Art, ArtReview, and others, and has written commissioned essays for numerous books.