Penny Jones and Ralph Lee
Puppets of New York

August 17, 2021 – April 22, 2022
Museum of the City of New York

1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street
Friday – Monday 10AM – 6PM

“The International Puppet Fringe Festival NYC, which arrives this week with over 50 shows and events, more than a dozen short films and five accompanying exhibitions, including “Puppets of New York” at the Museum of the City of New York, is far from a kiddie celebration.

But perhaps this festival’s most novel element is its partnership with the Museum of the City of New York, which will open its 2,500-square-foot exhibition with a sold-out celebration on Thursday evening. Puppets of New York,” which runs until early April at the uptown Manhattan museum, features photographs, videos, films and sets, as well as more than 60 puppets. They range from cardboard finger models designed by Penny Jones to José A. López Alemán’s 12-foot-tall Titanya, the fairy queen from “Sueño,” Teatro SEA’s Afro-Caribbean version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“The main argument of the show uptown is that the history of puppetry in New York City mirrors the demographics of the city,” said Monxo López, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation fellow who curated “Puppets of New York.” And, he noted, “many different puppeteers that reflect that diversity have not been as visible as others. It was important to tell that story of diversity, of visibility, of inclusiveness, in a way that also showed joy and possibility.”

To that end, the exhibition includes not only designs by famous masters like Jim Henson and Ralph Lee, but also work by artists like the Manteo family, who brought complex metal-armored Sicilian marionettes when they immigrated to New York a century ago, and Derek Fordjour and Nick Lehane, whose 2020 puppet production, “Fly Away,” featured a nameless young Black
man.”

-Laurel Graeber
NY Times August 121, 2021
Read entire article HERE

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