Cry of the People for Meat Tapestry by Peter Schumann

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48" x 43"

After emigrating to America from Silesia, Peter Schumann founded the Bread and Puppet Theater in 1963 on New York City’s Lower East Side. The theater utilized cheap, free, and often recycled materials to create both indoor and outdoor object-based performances, which spoke to urgent political and social issues, as well as buried histories. Bread and Puppet’s aesthetic and performance style remains defined by a rejection of the often elite and commercial nature of so called contemporary or modern forms of art, instead embracing radical, populist, free, and amateur approaches to creative production and its potential role in the betterment of society.

Bread and Puppet’s productions are the product of a collaborative process filtered through the singular aesthetic vision of Peter Schumann, who continues to serve as artistic director. Schumann’s nearly 60-year-long painting and sculpture practice has formed the visual identity of the theater from its inception, including all aspects of object, set, costume, and print design all of which exist simultaneously as autonomous parts that are used and reused in a myriad of ways for different purposes. Backdrops can become costumes or decorative banners and puppets can become sculptures in installations.

This banner was originally printed in 1969 as part of the set for the production “The Cry of the People for Meat.” It has been reprinted especially for us by Bread and Puppet Press Director Lila Winstead from the original linoleum cut carved by Peter Schumann.