Politicizing Puppets at St. Ann’s

Great Small Works’ International Toy Theater Festival is in its 10th year of celebrating miniature puppet works of all kinds. The last two weeks saw the festival transform St. Ann’s Warehouse in DUMBO, Brooklyn into a family circus-style labyrinth festooned with hand-painted banners, dividing the space into several individual makeshift theaters supplementing St. Ann’s usual venue.

Nick Cave’s Equine Exercise in Puppet Magic

I first learned about Nick Cave’s work in an undergraduate puppetry class. Puppetry, like architecture and some other disciplines, is the synthesis of a myriad of techniques both artistic and mechanical, attracting sculptors, dancers, and engineers in equal number. Similarly, Cave’s 30-strong herd of horses that visited Grand Central last week in his piece HEARD•NY, presented by MTA Arts for Transit and Creative Time, as well as the “Soundsuits” for which he gained initial recognition are genre-bending works of art: they are visual and performative wonders as well as feats of construction. Cave is the director of the Graduate Fashion Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, so while he may be an unwitting puppeteer, he is certainly no stranger to the intersections of beauty, functionality, and craftsmanship.

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