Kasper in History: Avant-garde and Propaganda Puppetry in Early Twentieth Century Germany
- Tuesday, April 13, 2021 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm
- Zoom - open to all; RSVP at https://bit.ly/39It3Tn
Kasper is Germany’s most famous puppet and a beloved hero of the traditional puppetry stage. He is the large-nosed tramp-like everyman stock character who fearlessly surmounts his enemies with wit, shrewdness, pluck, and a cudgel. Kasper is naïve, inept, and often bawdy, but his fixed smile and love of beer and sausages is so endearingly charming that the audience always cheers when he is victorious—and he is always victorious. Kasper’s roots in European folk culture stretch back centuries, but at the beginning of the twentieth century, the figure underwent a revival and several transformations in the hands of both avant-garde artists of the Weimar Republic and the propagandists of the Third Reich. Why did artists and performers turn to puppetry at these moments? How could the same puppet character be both an icon of resistance and a vehicle for manipulation and control? Bringing together canonical, lesser-studied, and newly rediscovered artists, this presentation will explore the relationship between art and politics through several key moments in the history of Kasper puppet theater. In English.
Rachel Herschman is a writer and curator in New York City. She is currently Curatorial Assistant at NYU’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World and was co-curator of Hymn to Apollo: The Ancient World and the Ballets Russes (2019) and Restoring the Minoans: Elizabeth Price and Sir Arthur Evans (2016). From 2014 to 2016, she was Curatorial Assistant for Publications at the Jewish Museum, where she contributed to international loan exhibitions and catalogues. Prior to that, she was a Museum Educator at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Rachel holds a BA from McGill University (Montreal) and an MA and PhD from the University of Washington (Seattle).