Emma Sulkowicz, CC '15, walks across Columbia College Class Day stage with mattress
Why art is separate from the artist | Emma Sulkowicz
Emma Sulkowicz is an American performance artist and anti-rape activist who first received media attention for the performance artwork Mattress Performance (2014–2015). The artwork consisted of Sulkowicz, who uses they/them pronouns, carrying a mattress wherever they went on campus during their final year at Columbia University. Sulkowicz said the piece would end when the student whom they alleged had raped them in their dorm room in 2012 was expelled or otherwise left the university. The work was a protest against campus sexual assault and the university's handling of their sexual assault case, in which it had cleared the accused of responsibility.