File puptcrit/puptcrit.0801, message 276

To: <>
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 19:58:38 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] "The Puppet Show" at the Institute of ContemporaryArt

Hi All
I attended the opening (the ICA is only 12 blocks from my home)
The event was a little too noisy and social to really give a fair review of 
the show.
I plan to return when it is quieter.
There are 10 video stations or booths- that require sitting down and 
watching the films or video unfold.
Really couldn't do that at the opening
The title "Puppet Show"might be a bit on the ironic side.
The exhibit is miles and miles away from the way the term is usually 

Most of artists involved are sculptors/film makers/ performance artists/ 
with the puppetry part coming in at the end of the list. This is work from 
the far edges of puppetry, where it rubs up against other forms, and in some 
cases it is hard for a puppeteer to understand why-or-how-or-if some of the 
work is connected to puppetry at all.

Don't get me wrong- there is lots to see here that is of interest- but as I 
think you can tell from the notices already on puptcrit- there is a lot of 
"artspeak" involved.

A slight digression- but not really
If anyone is in the NYC area. the Kara Walker show will be at the Whitney 
Museum until Feb 3.
It is powerful work. At the Whitney are 3 shadow puppet/ silhouette films. 
They are influenced by the great Lotte Reiniger- but beware- this is strong 
stuff about the pain of racism and there is explicit sexually imagery 
(Walker's work- not Lotte's!)
2 of the same shadow puppet films are in the "Puppet Show" at the ICA in 
(if you google "kara walker" puppets you get some idea of her work.)

Back to the ICA
You enter the exhibit walking through an area called "puppet storage." This 
looks like  the workshop or storage area of a puppeteer who has been 
collecting  for a long time.There is a Punch and Judy set, a Sicilian 
marionette, shadows from Java, There are some commercial toy puppets, 
posters and flyers. All are sort of strewn about to look like a puppeteers 
attic or basement- and most items are not labeled
"Puppet storage" includes Pinocchio and Geppetto by Rufus and Margo Rose. 
Tony Sarg, Marjorie McPharlin, Frank Ballard, and Basil Milovsoroff are all 
represented but they are not labeled.
The contents of "Puppet Storage:" are mostly from the Ballard Institute, and 
selected by John Bell.
There is great stuff. The ICA and the exhibit designer made the choice NOT 
to label this material- to create this sort of 
cool-puppets-strewn -everywhere effect..

The "puppet storage" area serves as sort of a cramped vestibule. A prelude 
to the main exhibit.

When I return I want to watch the video of "Ubu and Truth Commision."
I missed it at the Henson Festival in 1998, and I am grateful for the chance 
to see some it.
I also want to watch the video of the Pierre Huyghe's puppet piece about 
Corbusier- that was featured in Puppetry International-summer 2005


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gretchen Van Lente" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 5:46 PM
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] "The Puppet Show" at the Institute of 

> Ah, I see. Yes - as would I. It seems that whoever responded to
> you simply placed some text from the press release into an email
> and shot it off to you. Maybe look at the calendar to see what
> events are scheduled?
> --- Ed Atkeson <> wrote:
>> GVL >>>It just looks very interesting in general - a lot of
>> puppetry
>> theory and a lot of fantastic artists included in the
>> exhibition. Our own John Bell was one of the writers/curators
>> for the
>> accompanying text.
>> ---------------------------
>> I was trying to figure out if they were going to do the Jarry
>> play.
>> The blurb says,
>> "The puppet show takes as a historic point of departure one of
>> the
>> first episodes of avante-garde art history: Alfred Jarry's
>> 1896 play
>> Ubu Roi that was conceived as a puppet show. Ubu's reign
>> continues
>> with the work of the South African artist William Kentridge in
>> collaboration with the Handspring Puppet Company."
>> I have a message in to them about it, couldn't figure it out
>> from the
>> site. I'd drive to Philly for that.
>> best,
>> Ed A
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