Friday, July 08, 2011


Photo by John E. Barrett. Mahna Mahna and back-up singers © The Muppets Studio, LLC.

I was thrilled to receive an invitation from my friend Bonnie Erickson, the new Executive Director of the Jim Henson Legacy, to come and see Jim Henson's Fantastic World. This traveling exhibit is at New York's Museum of the Moving Image until January 16.

Info below is taken directly from the website of the Museum of the Moving Image.


Jim Henson's Fantastic World

July 16–January 16, 2012

Jim Henson, the internationally known creative genius whose work encompassed film, television, and puppetry, will be the subject of a major exhibition—Jim Henson’s Fantastic World—to be presented by Museum of the Moving Image this summer. For its New York run, the Smithsonian traveling exhibition will be enhanced by an array of programs, talks, and performances, including special screenings, personal appearances by members of Henson’s family and his close collaborators, and education programs for the entire family.

The exhibition will feature over 120 artifacts, including drawings, animations, storyboards, props, and video material that illustrate Henson’s boundless creativity and innumerable accomplishments. Among the highlights are fourteen iconic original puppets of such characters as Kermit the Frog, Rowlf, Bert, and Ernie; photographs of Henson and his collaborators at work; and excerpts from Henson’s early projects and experimental films. The exhibition spans Henson’s entire career, beginning with drawings, cartoons, and posters produced during his college years in the late 1950s and concluding with objects related to the inspired imaginary worlds of his popular fantasy films, The Dark Crystal (1982) and Labyrinth (1986). Visitors will encounter materials from Henson’s best-known projects, The Muppet Show, The Muppet Movie and its sequels, and Fraggle Rock, as well as objects related to his Sesame Street characters. Visitors will also learn about Sam and Friends, an early show Henson created in the 1950s, Henson’s television commercial work in the 1960s, and the segments Henson made for The Ed Sullivan Show.

In collaboration with the New York-based Jim Henson Legacy and The Jim Henson Company, the Museum will present screenings, educational programs, and special events to commemorate Henson’s 75th birthday on September 24 as well as other milestones during the period the exhibition is on view. These will include an anniversary screening of a newly restored 35mm print of Labyrinth with special guests, presentations by his widow and long-time creative partner Jane Henson and his son Brian Henson, and matinee screenings of Henson film and television work every weekend. Educational programs will include guided tours of the exhibition and family workshops on puppetry.

Jim Henson’s Fantastic World was organized by The Jim Henson Legacy and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in cooperation with the Henson family, The Jim Henson Company, The Muppets Studio, LLC, and Sesame Workshop. This exhibition is made possible by the BIO channel. Additional support has been provided by The Jane Henson Foundation and Cheryl Henson. The New York run at Museum of the Moving Image is supported by Five Napkin Burger, The Astor Room, and Schmutter, Strull, Fleish Inc.

Jim Henson's Fantastic World Podcast
Created as a companion to Jim Henson's Fantastic World, the podcast offers a behind-the-scenes look at Jim Henson and the fantastic creations of his imagination. The 30-minute tour features Karen Falk, Director of the Henson Archives; Craig Shemin, former writer for the Jim Henson Company; and Cheryl Henson, Jim Henson’s daughter and the president of the Henson Foundation. Download the podcast here.
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