Jim Henson Will Get His Own Gallery In NYC’s Museum Of The Moving Image

Jim Henson
Eva Rinaldi

The Museum of the Moving Image in New York City has announced it will build a special gallery devoted to the art of Jim Henson.

Jim Henson’s family has donated nearly 400 puppets, costumes, props, and other objects to the museum. They include items from all of his major projects such as “The Muppet Show,” “Sesame Street,” “Fraggle Rock,” “The Dark Crystal” and others. The biggest stars included in the collection are Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Elmo, Ernie, Bert, Count von Count, Gobo Fraggle, the Swedish Chef, and Statler and Waldorf.

The 2,200 square-foot exhibition space will also feature storyboards, scripts, and video clips.

The new gallery will open in the winter of 2014-15. It will cost $5 million to build and has already received $2.75 million for the City of New York.

Museum Of Modern Art Opens Bill Brandt Photography Retrospective

Museum Of Modern Art, Bill BrandtThe Museum Of Modern Art in New York City has opened an important retrospective of the work of Bill Brandt, one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century.

Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light” covers the photographer’s entire career in more than 150 images. While Brandt was born in Germany in 1904, he made England his home until his death in 1983. He’s best known for his intriguing photos of London during the bombings in World War II. Images of civilians sleeping in Tube stations and a blacked-out London in moonlight quickly became iconic images of Britain in wartime.

Before this, Brandt was already making a name for himself with images of the English poor and working class, and also the English countryside.

After the war, Brandt began to create nudes and, once again, his photos had an ethereal, dreamlike quality to them. He’s also known for intimate portraits of famous people of his day such as Pablo Picasso and Martin Amis.

“Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light” runs until August 12.

[Nude by Bill Brandt taken in London in 1954 courtesy Museum of Modern Art]

Medieval Tarot Deck, Webster’s Dictionary Manuscript Among Treasures On Display In New York

tarotThe Morgan Library & Museum in New York City has opened its annual summer exhibition of rare items from its collection. These include everything from a draft of George Washington’s inaugural speech to a deck of medieval tarot cards, including the one shown here in this Wikimedia Commons image.

This card is the Wheel of Fortune, and comes from the Visconti-Sforza tarot deck, made in Milan c. 1450. The tarot cards are some of the oldest of 29 items on display. Much of the collection is more recent but no less interesting.

One item of interest to any reader is Noah Webster’s original manuscript for his first dictionary. The dictionary was first published in 1828 after Webster spent 27 years and learned 26 languages to complete it. Webster had the distinction of creating the first American dictionary, and he was the last to tackle the massive task alone.

Other items include Oscar Wilde’s manuscript for “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” including homoerotic passages excised from the print version; a letter from Ernest Hemingway to The Paris Review; and Edgar Allen Poe’s manuscript of “Tamerlane.”

The collection will remain open to the public through September 8.

The Art Newspaper reveals most popular exhibitions and museums of 2011

art, Louvre
The folks over at the Art Newspaper have just released some interesting stats about the art world of 2011. Collecting a huge amount of data from hundreds of museums and galleries, they’ve discovered some important trends.

First off, the big shows are getting bigger. The top ten most popular art shows back in 1996, the first year they gathered figures, averaged 3,000 visitors a day. Last year’s top ten shows averaged almost 7,000 visitors a day.

For total attendance in 2011, the Louvre in Paris was way ahead with 8,880,000 visitors. Number two was the Met in New York City with slightly over 6,000,000 visitors. Paris and London dominated the top ten. Three Parisian museums made the top ten: the Louvre (#1), Centre Pompidou (#8), and Musée D’Orsay (#10), with a combined total of 15.2 million visitors. London boasts the British Museum (#3), National Gallery (#4), and Tate Modern (#5), with a combined total of 16 million.

For top exhibitions, last year had several blockbusters, with “The Magical World of Escher” coming out on top with 573,691 visitors. It was free at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil. The most popular paid exhibition was “Kukai’s World: The Art of Esoteric Buddhism” at the Tokyo National Museum with 550,399 tickets sold.

There’s a lot more data in the report giving lots of insight into the booming world of major art exhibitions. It should be interesting to see what trends this year’s figures show.

Photo of the Louvre courtesy Ivo Jansch.

Medieval Islamic manuscripts on display at the Morgan, NYC

medieval
The Middle Ages produced some amazing works of art. Some of the best are the illuminated manuscripts from the Islamic world.

The above image, courtesy Graham S. Haber and the Morgan Library & Museum shows a woman relaxing after her bath. It was painted in Herat, Afghanistan. In many parts of the medieval Islamic world it was forbidden to create images of living things, but in other regions it was common.

The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City has an extensive collection of these works of art and now they’re on display in an exhibition called Treasures of Islamic Manuscript Painting from the Morgan. The earliest manuscript in the exhibition is a late-thirteenth century treatise on animals and their uses considered by some experts as one of the most important medieval Islamic manuscripts. There’s also a biography of the poet Rumi, several richly decorated Korans, and illustrations from the story of Majnun and Laila, the Islamic Romeo and Juliet.

There’s even a treatise on demonology, but sadly not a copy of the Necronomicon.

Treasures of Islamic Manuscript Painting from the Morgan runs from 21 October 2011 to 29 January 2012.