BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image held a ribbon-cutting last week for its long-awaited Jim Henson exhibit, and special guests during the event included the city’s first lady Chirlane McCray and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside). The kickoff marked the opening of the permanent exhibition.
The Jim Henson Exhibit will present approximately 300 of the puppeteer’s artifacts, including 47 puppets that are fan favorites—such as Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Rowlf, the Swedish Chef, Statler, Waldorf, Big Bird, Elmo, Cantus the Minstrel and a Skeksis.
The exhibition explores Henson’s work for film and television and his transformative impact on pop culture. Henson and his wife, Jane, created the Muppets in the mid-1950s and he lent several of his characters to the iconic children’s program Sesame Street. But Henson also directed several films, including several of the Muppets movies as well as The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth.
“Jim Henson’s playful, endearing, gently subversive personality could be felt in all of the film and television work he created,” a spokeswoman for the museum said. “The Jim Henson exhibition will be a dynamic new visitor experience exploring Henson’s transformative impact on popular culture. The exhibition will explore how Henson achieved this remarkable success by working with a team of dedicated puppet builders, designers, performers and writers who shared his restless curiosity, spirit of experimentation and commitment to creative collaboration.”
Over the course of his career—from the 1960s through the 1980s—Henson created stories and characters for television and film that delighted and inspired generations of fans around the world. He died in 1990.
“While Jim Henson may be best known as the inventor of the Muppets and so many other memorable characters, our exhibition takes a more holistic view of his contributions as a producer, director, innovator and creative leader who worked with an impressive team of collaborators,” said museum Executive Director Carl Goodman. “In that spirit, we are honored to be working with the designers and builders at the legendary Jim Henson’s Creature Shop to restore and preserve the puppets for future generations.”
Earlier this year, in anticipation for the exhibit, the museum, in collaboration with Kickstarter, set a $100,000 goal that would allow the Astoria gallery to preserve the exhibition’s existing puppets and create new ones based on Henson’s designs and sketches.
With a May 11 deadline, the goal was met and the exhibit officially debuted on July 22. The museum recommends purchasing admission to the exhibit beforehand due to its likely popularity. The price of admission is $15 for adults, $11 for seniors and students, and $7 for children ages 3 to 17.
For more information, visit www.movingimage.us.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org