Pablo Cano Checks Dumpsters and Thrift Stores For Puppet Parts

Categories: Art
Diego the Bullfighter
Pablo Cano's gilded Spaniard.
When Miami marionette master, Pablo Cano, got a pistol stuck in his ribs a few years back he reconsidered his approach to unearthing the found objects he employs to create his unusual puppets.

"After I got held up while dumpster diving I stopped combing through trash heaps as often as I used to," Cano says. "Now I find a lot of the stuff I work with at places like the Douglas Gardens Thrift Store or friends bring me materials they think I might be able to transform into a dancing ant or a roaring twenties flapper."

An intriguing cast of the whimsical characters, all past stars of Cano's annual high-voltage stage productions commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), are currently on view at the Kelley Roy Gallery in Wynwood. It's a modest survey exhibit marking the artist's first foray into the local gallery circuit in more than a decade.

If Aphrodite was a vegetable steamer.
"I'm really excited about breaking back into the local gallery scene" says Cano. "For the past ten or so years I have represented myself and exhibited these works in my Little Havana home where I have my studio."

Most of the dozen or so works on display at Kelley Roy are from Cano's personal collection. Three of the works on view are from the private collection of George and Denise Tucker.
Don't miss a rare early piece from the late 1990's from Cavaletti's Dream, one of his earliest productions at MoCA and a beguiling version of the goddess of love, Aphrodite, ingeniously confected by Cano from a stainless steel collapsible vegetable steamer, a seashell-shaped serving tray, and fired clay.

Similarly, he used a pepper shaker and a black toilet float to create his jazz-addled dancing ant. The insect's feet are fashioned from women's purse straps. Cano's deft eye for witty visual puns and keen salvage aesthetic seduce the eye in this vaudeville tribute to the age of the speakeasy and Tin Pan Alley. Check out his sizzling depiction of a flapper crafted from a red candlestick phone, a round powder box, and other discarded trinkets.

"These are some of my all-time personal favorites," informs the Dada-lerious Geppetto. He adds that he's been receiving fan mail from strangers who send him their gold cigarette foil wrappers he often uses on his gilded pieces. "I have one woman who mails me her cigarette wrappers like clockwork every month," he laughs.

Primo the Bull
Diego's arch rival, the bull with the golden hide.

Also on view at Kelley Roy, you'll find Diego the Bullfighter and Primo the Bull whose hide is covered in the gleaming gold tinsel that has become one of the artist's trademarks. So keep sending in those cancer stick foils, lady.

Pablo Cano's puppets will be up at the Kelley Roy Gallery (50 NE 29th St., Miami) until July 31. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and by appointment. Call 305-447-3888 or visit

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