Let's Put on a Puppet Show! ...with Karen Zasloff, Linda Norden, John Bell
“Let's Put On a Puppet Show!” is an afternoon event revolving around puppetry scheduled for Friday April 6. The event will be open to the public at large. Participants can make their own puppets (led by professional puppeteers, Tuckers' Tales); hear lectures by prominent contributors to the puppet field; and produce an improvisational puppet show of their own.
The Center has invited John Bell, artist and co-founder of Great Small Works; Linda Norden, curator of the American Pavilion for the 2005 Venice Biennale and curator of Pierre Huyghe's 2004 "puppet opera"(featuring a puppet of Linda); Karen Zasloff, artist and shadow-puppeteer; and other special guests.
“Let's Put on a Puppet Show” brings together artists, curators, and puppeteers to explore the ways puppets and puppet theater have functioned within contemporary art and society.
Tuckers' Tales Puppet Theater, the Performing division of Puppet Perceptions, Inc., is a Philadelphia area based performing company founded in 1981. Co-directors Marianne and Tom Tucker have performed at puppet, folk, ethnic and street festivals, and at craft fairs, shopping centers, theaters and schools around the country.Audiences from small children to senior citizens have enjoyed the variety of styles skillfully displayed in their interesting programs. Tom and Marianne Tucker also teach workshops in puppetry and construct puppets by special order.
John Bell started performing as a puppeteer with the Bread and Puppet Theater, and as a member of that company for over a dozen years learned about the global breadth of puppetry. After earning his Ph.D. in theater history at Columbia University, he began teaching at the college level, and is presently an assistant professor of performing arts at Emerson College. He is a founding member of the Brooklyn-based theater group Great Small Works, with whom he performs and directs. He is a Contributing Editor to both TDR and Puppetry International and the author of Strings, Hands, Shadows: A Modern Puppet History (Detroit Institute of Arts) and editor of Puppets, Masks, and Performing Objects (MIT Press).
Karen Zasloff is an artist, puppeteer and educator. For the past ten years she has designed, built and performed original shows in museums, theaters and public spaces in New York City, Massachusetts and Vermont. These have included PS1 Contemporary Art Center, St. Ann’s Warehouse, PS122, Here Arts Center and the Ontological Theater. Outdoor performances have included several summers in the States and abroad with The Bread and Puppet Theater and Chicago’s RedMoon Theater, and a project on Staten Island for the New York City Housing Authority. Her drawings are currently featured in the documentary, Banished, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year. She studied Design for Stage and Film at the Tisch School of the Arts, and is now studying performance at the Gallatin School at NYU. She has taught English, Art and Drama for many years in New York City public schools and community centers.
Linda Norden is a curator and occasional writer on contemporary art. Though puppetry is not a specialization per se, she was responsible, together with Artforum senior editor Scott Rothkopf, for the production of Pierre Huyghe's 2004 film, "This is not a time for dreaming," an allegorical fable that drew heavily on the multiple metaphortical implications of the marionette to explore the fate of commissions and creative experiment within the university in particular and institutions more generally. Hired in 1998 to help establish the first department of contemporary art at the Harvard University Art Museums, Norden worked to build both programming and the museum's fledgling contemporary art collection. As Commissioner of the U.S. Pavilion for the 2005 Venice Biennale, she curated Ed Ruscha's "Course of Empire" with the Whitney Museum's Donna DeSalvo, which was reconcieved for the Whitney in the fall of that year. Future projects include advising on the 2008 Whitney Biennial and the UK-wide exhibition of emerging artists titled "New Contemporaries."
This program is organized by Joe Zane, artist, director of production at the Center, and lecturer at MIT’s Visual Art Program.
“(Puppet) Show!” is generously supported by the MIT Arts Council. Special thanks to the Puppet Showplace Theatre, the Visual Art Program @ MIT, Joe Gibbons, Ingrid Schaffner, and Michael Smith.