U.S.A. - Jackson-Mississipi - Jim Henson's fantastic world

Without “fences” to limit where his imagination could roam, Leland, Mississippi-native Jim Henson (1936-1990) - artist, puppeteer, film director and producer - created elaborate imaginary worlds filled with unique characters, objects, environments and even languages and cultures. The early years he spent in the Mississippi Delta offered Henson the creative atmosphere from which many of his world-famous characters sprang. Henson spent many formative afternoons exploring Deer Creek around Leland and was inspired by the amphibians and the surrounding swamp. Henson’s work is now enjoyed in dozens of languages in more than 100 countries.
Jim Henson’s Fantastic World, a new exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and The Jim Henson Legacy, offers a rare peek into the imagination and creative genius of this multitalented innovator and creator of Kermit the Frog, Big Bird and other beloved characters.
The exhibition features 100 original artworks, including drawings, cartoons and storyboards that illustrate Henson’s talent as a storyteller and visionary. Among the variety of exhibition objects are puppets and television and movie props, photographs of Henson and his collaborators at work and original video productions, including excerpts from Henson’s early career and experimental films.
From the very beginning, Henson expressed his ideas with incredible bursts of invention, through a variety of visual forms, clever dialogue, songs, comic bits and animation. All of his work reveals a highly sophisticated and nuanced thought process, evident in the decades-long metamorphosis of a small group of captivating characters from simple doodles to cartoons to puppets to films. What began as a one-man enterprise eventually grew into an international phenomenon. As time passed, the simple hand puppets Henson created for his first television show, “Sam and Friends,” evolved into increasingly more sophisticated characters - from the Muppets of “The Muppet Show,” “Sesame Street” and “Fraggle Rock” fame to the larger-than-life fantasy creatures of “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth.”
Jim Henson’s Fantastic World is organized by The Jim Henson Legacy and SITES, in cooperation with the Henson Family; The Jim Henson Company; The Muppets Studio, LLC; and Sesame Workshop. The exhibition is made possible by The Biography Channel. Additional support has been provided by The Jane Henson Foundation and Cheryl Henson.Established in 1992, The Jim Henson Legacy was founded by Jane Henson, colleagues and friends in response to the extraordinary interest in the life and prolific body of work by Jim Henson. The non-profit 501(C3) organization is dedicated to preserving and perpetuating Jim Henson’s contributions to the worlds of puppetry, television and motion pictures, special effects and media technology. By making Jim Henson’s creative work available to the public through presentations and exhibits, the Legacy’s mission is to share the power of his art, his imagination and his positive view of life with generations to come. Please visit our website: http://www.jimhensonlegacy.org/.
SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For more information, including exhibition descriptions and tour schedules, visit http://www.sites.si.edu/.
This exhibition is sponsored locally by Donna and Jim Barksdale, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, WGBH, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau, Mississippi Development Authority, JBHM Education Group, The Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, The Mississippi Arts Commission, BancorpSouth, Sanderson Farms, Atmos Entergy, Planters Bank, Mitchell Distributing Company, Delta Council, McDonald's and Regions Bank.

Mississipi Museum of Art 19.12.2009 - 14.03.2010

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