Strange Warmth

The components for Strange Warmth were originally designed for the puppet play The Apotheosis of Charles Willson Peale, which premiered at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1998 and used dance and live cello to evoke a shattered picture of Peale’s Museum - America’s first museum of Art and Natural History (Philadelphia, 1786).  Several months later, with repurposed sets from Apotheosis, Strange Warmth was created and performed in a wooden lodge on the campus of Black Mountain College, North Carolina for the first and last time on a summer evening in 1998. The performance, accompanied on violin by Chip Epsten and the sound of crickets, ended with the scene of a small boy (made by the convergence of five shifting set pieces) holding poisonous snakes in a tableau announcing the end of innocence.  The set and all related materials were then put into storage, discarded, or lost until recently reconstructed for the exhibit “The Art of Contemporary Puppet Theater” at the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY, as seen above.