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About the Olympia Project

The Olympia Project’s mission is to revisit the controversial early nude photography that originated in Paris in the 1850s through 1930s by reimagining this distinct moment in art history where new perspectives on sex, taboos, and feminine beauty revolutionized art, fashion, and modern society at large up until today. The Project is also committed to showcasing contemporary work that takes new perspectives on themes and aesthetics from this early photographic era.

The Olympia Project debuted in 2015 as an addition to VAEFF’s successful “Beauty, Sex, & Shame” program. In November 2016, the first event of The Olympia Project took place at VAEFF’s annual closing Gala, where the audience was invited into a reconstruction of a 1850s brothel and became immersed in an interactive performance with artists, courtesans, and influencers. The project scope has since been expanded and is now an independent project in its own right. We are proud to announce that, the host of VAEFF, is now home to The Olympia Project.

The Olympia Project Theatrical Series

The first fictional play of the Olympia project was inspired by the erotic stereoscopic tinted photos of the 19th century French artists Louis-Camille d’Olivier and Edouard Manet’s “Olympia.”  

The play centers on the brothel’s Madame, an aspiring artist who finds a way to create her own art and express her progressive ideas in her brothel, which, in a seemingly paradoxical way, was one of the only places where women had access to many freedoms they would have otherwise not been afforded as a member of the oppressive society of the era. 

In November 2016, the first event of the Olympia Project Theatrical Series took place at the VAEFF closing Gala. The audience was invited into a reconstruction of an 1850s brothel, built in DCTV’s historic French Chateau and became immersed in an interactive performance with 1850s artists, courtesans, and influencers.  In the near future, the project’s series will continue to reminisce on an era of controversial artwork in Paris from the 1850s to 1930s, where new perspectives on sex and feminine beauty revolutionized art dogmas and influenced fashion and popular culture for decades to come.  


Juliana Valente as the Madame
Ben Rademacher as Louis d’Oliver
Emma Gutt as a Scarlet Woman
Joie Nouveau as a Scarlet Woman
Maral Tataras as a Scarlet Woman
Shea Davies as a Courtesan
Petite Renard as a Courtesan
John Paul Harkins as an Artist
Adrian de Propertis as the Bartender
David Whitman as an Artist


Created and Directed by Dan Fine

Elisabeth Ng – Performance Director
Elisabeth Ng – Costume Design
Noah D’Orazio – Coordinator
Rebecca Louise Tiernan – Set Building
Jay Jihyun Kim – Assistant Editor
Sarah Telesca – Website Editor

Timor Raz – Set Photography
Zach Hagen – Event Photography

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