“Beautiful Trouble is essential reading for the socially engaged artist.”Ken Krafchek, Graduate Director, MFA in Community Arts, Maryland Institute College of Art
The Art and Revolution Collective was a San Francisco group that worked in the carnivalesque puppet-and-mask performance style made famous by Bread and Puppet Theater. Their first major action was at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1996 and involved a twenty-foot-tall puppet called the “Corporate Tower of Power.” To draw attention to Chevron Texaco, they brought kids to the gates of a California oil refinery to hold up paintings of their visions of the future. They also dressed up like salmon and “swam” in a forest to protest logging. Like Bread and Puppet, Art and Revolution often displayed generalized messages on large banners as part of their performances, tying the action to larger political and philosophical ideas (“restorative justice”). Often these messages snuck into newspapers when photographers, snapping the giant puppets, captured the banners without meaning to.