DOYLESTOWN, PA.- If Jim Henson's only intention was to make the world a little better, he well exceeded his goal. Without Henson's impressive creativity and ingenuity, scores of children and adults would have never met his endearing character conceptions or enjoyed educational programs like "The Muppet Show," "Fraggle Rock" and "Sam and Friends." His work has transcended generations, cultures and languages, reaching more than 100 countries. Clearly, Henson left an indelible mark on the world.
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 will be the first to be featured in the new Syd and Sharon Martin Wing at the James A. Michener Art Museum (138 S. Pine St., Doylestown, PA) on September 12 and remain on view until November 29, 2009.
"We are extremely honored to be hosting Jim Henson's Fantastic World," said Bruce Katsiff, Director and CEO of the James A. Michener Art Museum. "Through his lovable characters, films and programs, Henson made an everlasting impact on the imagination of an entire generation, and this show pays homage to that brilliant legacy."
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, 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.
"It's such a treat to get to know Jim Henson through his doodles and drawings, his puppets and his fantastic performances," said Karen Falk, curator of the exhibition and archivist at The Jim Henson Company. "I'm delighted to be able to share this inspiring and entertaining experience with people all over the country. Seeing his original work firsthand opens a window into his visual thinking and provides both an appreciation of Jim as an artist and a reason to laugh out loud."
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.