Opening Reception featuring a Fiddle Sermon performance by Peter Schumann at 8pm.
Sourdough rye bread and beer will be served.
Peter Schumann: The Shatterer is the first solo museum exhibition of Bread and Puppet Theater founder and director Peter Schumann. Opening November 9th 2013 as part of the first season in the Museum’s newly expanded galleries, it marks the 50th anniversary of the Bread and Puppet Theater while introducing New York audiences to a largely unseen body of work by one of the most independent, prolific, and complex artists of our time.
After arriving in the U.S. in 1961, Peter Schumann, German-born artist-dancer, founded Bread & Puppet Theater in 1963 in New York’s Lower East Side. Schumann’s background in dance and sculpture coupled with his upbringing in the aftermath of World War II heavily informed the mission of the theater, taking a makeshift approach to the creation of elaborate large-scale performances, which combine huge puppets, masked characters, experimental movement, surreal imagery, and unflinching political commentary. During the 1960s and after the Theater’s giant puppets figured prominently in anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in New York City, Washington DC and other cities in the U.S. and abroad. Indoor performances were both simpler and more complex, ranging from quiet, intense masked shows (“Fire”, “Man Says Good-Bye”) with 4-6 players, to huge, lengthy spectacles (“Cry of the People for Meat”).
In 1970, an invitation from Vermont’s Goddard College to be theater-in-residence facilitated a change to country life. “Our Domestic Resurrection Circus,” an outdoor festival of music, art, puppetry and pageantry, began then, and ran almost every summer, growing to crowds of tens of thousands, until 1998. Since then, a smaller more dispersed version, though with giant puppets intact, continues on Sundays in July and August; the company continues touring and work shopping the rest of the year in New England and around the globe; and Schumann continues as director and artist.
In collaboration with KARMA (NYC based publisher), Peter Schumann will produce an artist book to accompany the exhibition.
Peter Schumann: The Shatterer is curated by Jonathan Berger and organized at the Queens Museum by Larissa Harris.
Peter Schumann: The Shatterer has been generously supported by grants from the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, The Jim Henson Foundation, and the Puffin Foundation. Additional funding provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
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