Marianne Petit

Marianne Petit
2020 Last Fellow
Mixed Media Artist
New York, NY

Research at AAS

Mouth & Toes: The World of 19th-Century (Performative) Silhouette Artists with Disabilities

Mouth & Toes: The World of 19th Century (Performative) Silhouette Artists with Disabilities is an illustrated and animated hybrid book, to be completed through a Jay and Deborah Last Creative Artist Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society. The book tells the stories of the performative world of disabled and atypically figured artists working in the very popular and affordable alternative to portraiture, the silhouette. Artists include Martha Ann Honeywell, Sarah Rogers, and Nellis Saunders. The book will also explore the role of the Peale Museum, the physiognotrace, and the work of Moses Williams, former slave of Charles Peale and master silhouette artist. The final form(s) will include a handmade illuminated moving panorama as well as an animated downloadable eBook. The book is being developed in collaboration with historian Laurel Daen.


2021 Public Program
On August 19, 2021, Marianne Petit and Laurel Daen recounted the remarkable stories of Honeywell, Rogers, and Nellis in a new creative project titled "Mouth and Toes: The World of 19th-Century Silhouette Artists with Disabilities.” Featuring a “crankie” or moving panorama, printed scrolls, hand-held flip books, and an e-book, Daen and Petit center these artists in the fascinating world of art, performance, travel, and disability in which they lived. You can view the program on the AAS public program page.


About the Fellow

Marianne R. Petit is an artist and educator whose work explores fairy tales, graphic and narrative medicine, as well as collective storytelling practices through mechanical books that combine animation and paper craft. Her interests are in combining technology, traditional book arts, and sequential storytelling to create new forms of narrative for the 21st century.

Petit’s artwork has appeared internationally in festivals and exhibitions, been featured in publications such as Hyperallergic, Make, and Wired, and broadcast on IFC and PBS. Her movable books can be found in numerous museum and library collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the British Library, the Berlin Public Library, Boston Library, as well as numerous University and private collections.

Petit is an Associate Arts Professor at New York University’s Interactive Media Arts (IMA) and ITP programs located in the Tisch School of the Arts. Additionally, she serves as an Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Network Academic Planning for the university and received the University Distinguished Teaching Award in 2016.

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