“Puppets of New York” Exhibition Celebrates City’s Most Quirky Locals | Life
NEW YORK, November 5 – Puppets are an integral part of New York and its cultural scene. Now, the Museum of the City of New York pays homage to these quirky characters through a major exhibition until April 3. Visitors can discover more than 100 puppets used in Broadway shows like The Lion King.
Puppets are not child’s play. According to exhibition curator Monxo López, they “often reflect cultural changes, the diversity of communities and political events that have an impact on urban life”. Indeed, “Puppets of New York” traces the impact of the puppet on the city of New York and the various communities that inhabit it.
Many migrated to the American city with puppets in their suitcases. The mischievous Punch and his wife Judy arrived with the British, while the shadow puppets came with the Asian Diaspora, for example. “Immigrants from all over the world have made New York City a mosaic of puppet traditions that both reflect their places of origin and blend together,” notes Monxo López.
Visitors to the exhibition will see giant puppets from Lunar New Year celebrations, as well as a Czech-American Beelzebub from the early 19th century. But some of the characters featured in New York Puppets are even better known, like Oscar the Grouch – the grumpy green monster who lives in a trash can on the children’s show Sesame Street – and Lamb Chop, the fluffy white sheep of the late American ventriloquist Shari Lewis.
The exhibition also pays tribute to the work of puppeteers such as Jim Henson, Ralph Lee and Bruce Cannon. All these artists help to make New York “a world capital of puppetry”, according to Whitney Donhauser, director of the museum. Yet this particular title undoubtedly belongs to the French town of Charleville-Mézières, which has hosted the World Festival of Puppet Theaters since 1961. Despite this, Whitney Donhauser says that the Big Apple had a real influence on “this whimsical and adventurous Art form. ”So much so that it is one of the few cities in the world where puppeteers are civil servants. ETX Studio