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‘Life’s Little Dramas: The World of Puppets and Illusions’ Opening Reception
September 25, 2014 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pmFree
The Gregg recently acquired an important collection of international puppets gifted by retired commercial artist John C. Henry, including an entire cast of 19th century English Punch-and-Judy figures, Indonesian shadow puppets, a Chinese opera troupe, and a large Yayoroba figure from the Bamana tribe of Mali.
Puppetry is an age-old art form—examples have been found in Egyptian tombs and miniaturized dramas were popular with the ancient Greeks—but puppets also played a major role in the development of technology and media. The first-ever televised image (in 1928) was an articulated Felix the Cat. Howdy Doody, starring a freckled cowboy marionette, was the first network TV program to air five days a week, as well as the first show to be broadcast in color. Both anticipated today’s interactive video games and computer design. The cultural perceptions revealed by puppets, from the prehistoric belief that inanimate objects possess spirits, to the computer’s ability to create convincingly animated images of inanimate things, offer another way to trace the technological history of humankind.