An openly gay performance artist, Fleck was noted for covering the stage and himself in refuse and clutter while making pointed political and social commentary on everything from racial intolerance to sexual discrimination. While he may have been a familiar face from his numerous guest appearances on TV series (from "Hooperman" to "Seinfeld" to "L.A. Law"), the tall, dark-haired Fleck gained national prominence in 1990 as one of artists whose National Endowment of the Arts grant was rescinded on the grounds their work was obscene . He joined with the other three (Tim Miller, Holly Hughes and Karen Finley--who came to be collectively known as the "NEA Four") in a lawsuit filed in September 1990 that challenged the agency's decision and the constitutionality of the language of its policy to fund art that met "general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs and values of the American public." In June 1992, US District Court Judge A. Wallace Tashima ruled that the language of the NEA policy was indeed unconstitutional. While the Justice Department appealed Tashima's ruling, the NEA agreed to pay $252,000 to the four artists in an out-of-court settlement in June 1993.
Fleck continued his career, appearing regularly on TV (including two teleflicks inspired by the feature "Midnight Run"), on stage (in his own performance pieces) and in small, generally forgettable roles in such diverse films as "The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear" (1991), "Falling Down," "Grief" (both 1993) and "Waterworld" (1995). Next to the NEA controversy, Fleck is perhaps best known as the fastidious and loyal administrative assistant to defense attorney Ted Hoffman in the ABC drama "Murder One" (1995-96).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Feature film debut, "Truckin' Buddy McCoy"
TV debut, guest appearance on "Hooperman" (ABC)
TV-movie debut "The Secret Life of Kathy McCormick"
Filed lawsuit with Holly Hughes, Tim Miller and Karen Finley seeking to overturn NEA decision in September
One of four performance artists denied a grant by the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) on grounds of obscenity due to subject matter (homosexuality, feminism, politics, etc.) in July
Lawsuit amended to challenge NEA's 'general standards of decency' policy in March
US District court judge struck down decency language as unconstitutional in June
NEA settled out of court; agreed to pay four performance artists a total of $252,000 in June
Joined cast of ABC's "Murder One" as administrative assistant to defense attorney Theodore Hoffman
Had supporting role in the UPN series "Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer"
Premiered one-person show "Dirt" in L.A.