Performance artist: Take a break, City Hall drones

Is he a tour guide? A protester? A City Hall staffer in exile?

That’s what passersby thought when they spotted Daniel Westfield, 27, sitting in a school desk outside City Hall, wearing a suit and tie, and reading. 

Turns out he’s a performance artist, and he has a message for those of us on the daily grind: Take a break.

A University of the Arts grad student, Westfield sat at the desk from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and read Alfred Jarry’s The Supermale.

“I came into this piece with a loaded gun that I was going to make some kind of commentary that you go to work and don’t have the opportunity to enjoy pleasure because you conform to the organization that you’re working for," said Westfield, a Fishtown resident and Bronx native.

"You give up a little bit of your personal taste for conformity," Westfield said to a reporter wearing khakis, a blue shirt, brown shoes, a brown belt and a brown tie.

His solution for professional monotony? Employers should provide time and space for workers to exercise, relax or engage in a hobby - like reading, as he did outside all day.

"They’re just caught up in the grind. And if there was time allotted for physical exercise and pleasure, I think they'd be more productive," he said.

His project is called 925, as in “nine to five.”

It apparently caught the eye of Mayor Nutter who talked to Westfield and posed for a photo when passing by.

Nutter "approached me and was curious. I think I fulfilled his curiosity, and he was very welcoming," Westfield said.

Inspiration for the piece, he said, came from his days as an intern at BNY ConvergEX in Manhattan. How did the studio art and psychology major land a Wall Street internship?


Westfield kept track of what people who stopped to talk to him thought he was doing. As of mid-afternoon, 11 people thought he was a City Hall staffer who got in trouble and was being punished.

Clout now officially recommends that the Ethics Board considers having elected officials sit in school desks on South Broad Street as a possible sanction for campaign-finance violations.