Puppets of New York: Downtown at The Clemente

At Abrazo Interno Gallery (@ The Clemente)

Curated by Leslee Asch & Monxo López
In partnership with the Museum of the City of New York

Exhibition on view August 11-September 30
Opening Reception: August 11, 2021, 5PM 
Location: The Clemente Center, 107 Suffolk Street, NYC

Puppets of New York: Downtown at The Clemente will focus on twelve important “downtown” artists who are committed to exploring the theatrical possibilities of puppet theater. The Clemente is a fitting location for this exhibition. Founded in 1993, puppetry found an early home at The Clemente’s Los Kabayitos Theater. This time dovetails perfectly with the years of the Jim Henson Foundation’s Festivals of Puppet Theater, which took place at The Public Theater and other downtown theaters, including Los Kabayitos, from 1992-2000. The exhibition will feature tableaus of the puppet theater work of these remarkable artists, many of whom performed at the Henson Festivals; all of whom continue to create and perform in downtown NYC.

The exhibition, which will run from August 11-September 30, will take place in the Abrazo Interno Gallery at The Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center on Suffolk Street in New York City. It is co-curated by Monxo Lopez of the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY), and Leslee Asch, the producing director of all five Henson Foundation International Festivals of Puppet Theater. It is held in conjunction with Puppets of New York, a major puppetry exhibition at MCNY, and the International Puppet Fringe Festival at The Clemente.

On Friday, August 13th at 4pm, The Puppet Fringe Festival will host a panel entitled Out of The Shadows which will celebrate the Henson Festivals, the history of puppetry at The Clemente, and the recent book by Leslee Asch entitled Out of The Shadows: The Henson Festivals and Their Impact on Contemporary Puppet Theater. Panelists will be Leslee Asch, Cheryl Henson, Dan Hurlin, Manuel Moran, and Michael Romanyshyn.

Puppets of New York

At the Museum of the City of New York

Curated by Monxo López

Exhibition on view August 13, 2021- March, 2022
Opening Reception and Puppet Red Carpet: August 12, 2021, 7 PM
Location: Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue, NYC

Puppets of New York explores the extraordinary, surprising, and diverse history of New York City’s quirkiest residents. Puppets traveled with migrant communities from across the globe as they made their way to the city. Like other New Yorkers, they both enriched the metropolis and were transformed by it, as they encountered the heady mix of other puppetry traditions, practices, and languages that also made New York City home. From Punch and Judy to Oscar the Grouch; from Lamb Chop to the Lion King; from Lunar New Year to the Thanksgiving Day parade, the marionettes, shadow figures, and rod and hand puppets of New York have regaled our stages, studios, and streets. They have been broadcast all across the globe, and over time have reshaped the puppetry traditions of many cultures.  

Jim Henson and Julie Taymor, Basil Twist and Theodora Skipitares, Ralph Lee and Pura Belpré, Great Small Works and Teatro SEA are just some the influential puppeteers featured in Puppets of New York, an exhibition poised to bring joy and awe, live performances and panels, workshops and movies to people of all ages. 

Puppets of New York is part of a multi-sited collaboration between The Museum of the City of New York, The International Puppet Fringe Festival NYCTeatro SEA, and The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center, which includes the exhibition Puppets of New York: Downtown at The Clemente (August 11 – September 30), at 107 Suffolk Street.

Teatro SEA’s International Collaborations

At Teatro SEA

This exhibition will highlight the different types of puppets used throughout SEA’s history, providing a sample of SEA’s puppets and characters. The various puppets featured will included shadow, cabezudos, vejigantes, hand and rod puppets, in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and styles.

These puppets were created by the international artists: Deborah Hunt (New Zeeland-Puerto Rico), Ingrid Hamster Harris (Holland-Canada), Zenén Calero (Cuba), VíctorNavarro (Spain), Shinde Chithambara Rao (India), Álvaro Ortega Beltrán (Spain), Cristina Arancibia (Chile) and our own José López (Puerto Rico), who was SEA’s Puppet Master and Designer for 30 years.

Vince Anthony’s Legacy

Murals of Puppetry around the World

@ LES Gallery (The Clemente). 

The photographic journey of Vince Anthony’s career, Founder of the Center for Puppetry Arts. 

@ Tamayo Gallery (Teatro LATEA). 

Murals exhibition of renowned L.E.S. Muralist Alfredo “Freddy” Hernández.


Aug. 11th @ 5pm Opening -10pm
Aug. 12th @ 11am – 5pm
Aug. 13th -15th @ 11am – 10pm
Aug. 16th – September 30, 2021
Wed. thru Sundays 12pm -5pm

Disclaimer: The International Puppet Fringe Festival NYC is a production of The Society of the Educational Arts, TeatroSEA.org, The Moran Group and their collaborators. None of these organizations are associated with The Present Theatre Company, Inc., The New York International Fringe Festival or FringeNYC.

For information about the latter, please visit www.fringenyc.org

© International Puppet Fringe NYC, 2021.