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School of Fine ArtsThe William Benton Museum of Art

Speak Up! Speak Out! Bread & Puppet Theater

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May 28 – October 11, 2015

Opening Reception May 28, 4:30-7 pm

Speak Up! Speak Out! Bread and Puppet Theater presents puppets ranging in height up to 20 feet, masks, paintings, and other works from Peter Schumann’s Bread & Puppet Theater, which has left an indelible stamp on the world of theater and the American cultural landscape over the past half century.

This exhibition focuses on Bread & Puppet’s activist responses to fundamental political and social issues that have defined American culture over the past 50 years, including the war in Vietnam; Central American turmoil and Liberation Theology; the politics of black liberation as represented by the Attica prison uprising and the M.O.V.E. family in Philadelphia; opposition to nuclear weapons and nuclear power; and the war in Iraq.

Since Peter Schumann began his theater on New York City’s Lower East Side in the 1963, Bread & Puppet’s combination of modernist art and performance sensibilities with the desire to address critical social and political issues has created a new form of American puppetry capable of stunning beauty and provocative questioning, in contexts ranging from city streets, town squares, and traditional theater spaces to the expansive landscape of the theater’s home in Glover, Vermont. Writing of Bread & Puppet, the poet Grace Paley asked, “Why not speak the truth directly? Just speak out! Speak up! Speak to! Why not?”

Image Credit from Home Page:  Peter Schumann, Yama, the King of Hell, and the Birdcatcher, from The Birdcatcher in Hell.  2013.  Photo by Massimo Schuster.

 

Public Programs: The 2015 National Puppetry Festival of the Puppeteers of America will be celebrated at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT August 10-16, 2015 with more than 26 national and international performances, 30 professional workshops and master classes, 6 exhibitions, a parade, outdoor spectacles and many unanticipated events across the UConn campus and in Storrs Center. Visit online at nationalpuppetryfestival2015.com.
Note: Museum is Closed July 3 – 6 & August 16 – 31.

 

Peter Schumann, Mother Earth puppet. 1990s. Paper maché. Photo by John Bell

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