Artist’s Choice: Tom Thayer

May 5, 2012

The artist works with kids

Tom Thayer works with families in the studio, 2012. Photograph by Desi Gonzalez

For the Biennial 2012 exhibition, artist Tom Thayer presented a mixed media installation including paintings, outmoded technologies, and handmade puppets. During performances, puppets were brought to life, and fragile contraptions hanging silently overhead became musical instruments. For the workshop, Thayer showed families his installation and discussed his influences. Thayer’s work is inspired by many things including the low-tech puppets on kid’s television in the seventies and his experiences as an art teacher. His work has an amateurish style which borrows elements from both low and high culture. Families joined the artist to create their own puppets starting with a dowel. Guided by Thayer, families added materials such as buttons, wire, and fabric to create their own characters. Parents and kids were challenged to think about which parts of their puppets would move or not move. 

Visit Tom Thayer’s website

THE WORKSHOP

  • Tom Thayer discusses his work with families in the galleries, May 2012. Photograph by Desi Gonzalez

  • Tom Thayer demonstrates the movements of his puppets to families in the galleries, May 2012. Photograph by Desi Gonzalez

  • Tom Thayer explains the project to families in the Whitney Studio, May 2012. Photograph by Desi Gonzalez

  • Families create puppets in the studio, May 2012. Photograph by Desi Gonzalez

  • A family works together to make a puppet, May 2012. Photograph by Desi Gonzalez

  • A father helps his son to create their puppet, May 2012. Photograph by Desi Gonzalez