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SundayArts News 12/4/2011
Posted: December 4th, 2011

Jim Henson’s Fantastic World
Located in Astoria, Queens, The Museum of the Moving IMage advances the public understanding and appreciation of all the aspects involved in the creation of film, television, and digital media. The main temporary exhibition on view here celebrates the legacy of Jim Henson: a creative figure known worldwide, who would have turned 75 years old this fall. “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” features more than 120 artifacts, including drawings, storyboards, props and puppets. Visitors can examine materials from Henson’s best-known projects: “The Muppet Show,” “The Muppet Movie,” and “Fraggle Rock.” “Time Piece”, an Academy Award-nominated experimental short film made by Henson, is one of the highlights. This exhibition is on view through Monday, January 16, 2012.

MOMIX dance at the Joyce
MOMIX is a dance company known internationally for work of exceptional inventiveness and physical beauty. The company returns to The Joyce Theater for the holiday season with “Botanica,” a show that conjures up a world of surrealistic images by using props, light, shadow, humor, and the human body in surprising ways. Featuring music that ranges from Vivaldi to birdsong, “Botanica” follows the passing of a day, the rhythms of the seasons, as well as the evolution of the world. Flowers bloom, go to seed and die. Vegetable, animal and mineral forms – all created by human bodies – undergo spectacular metamorphic changes in this magical production.

From December 8th to the 11th, the Merce Cunningham Studio Theater hosts the dance festival WestFest. Twenty-one choreographers will present their creations in this iconic West Village performance space. The works vary widely in their exploration of gesture and emotion, from the playful character of “Rounds” performed by Nellie Rainwater / Rainwater Dances to the ironic criticism that underlies the athletic choreography of “Salaryman,” performed by TAKE Dance.

Matisse and the Model
Henri Matisse was one of the most influential painters of the 20th century. In 1939 he declared, “I depend entirely on my model.” An exhibition currently on view at the Eykyn Maclean gallery on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, examines this artistic relationship. “Matisse and the Model” is an in-depth survey of the artist’s work, from 1900 to his death in 1954. The 46 works in the show represent the various media Matisse utilized throughout his career – painting, sculpture, drawing, print and cut-outs. Matisse relied on his models to help him find expression for his creative vision, and he treated them as partners in his work. As he was exploring the tensions between abstraction and figuration, fact and fantasy, other and self, he was always devoted to the human figure.

The Mountaintop
Earlier this fall, Samuel L. Jackson made his Broadway debut starring in “The Mountaintop” at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. The play was written by Katori Hall, an American actress and playwright, who grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. It is set in the — now famous — Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, on April 3rd, 1968: the night before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On this stormy night, Dr. King (played by Samuel L. Jackson) retires to Room 306 after having delivered his legendary “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech. Playing opposite Jackson is Angela Bassett, who brings to life the character of a mysterious young woman. She acts as a catalyst for Dr. King’s self-examination of his life and decisions.

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SundayArts is made possible in part by First Republic Bank and by the Rubin Museum of Art. Funding for SundayArts is also made possible by Rosalind P. Walter, The Paul and Irma Milstein Foundation, The Philip & Janice Levin Foundation, Elise Jaffe and Jeffrey Brown, Jody and John Arnhold, and The Lemberg Foundation. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional funding provided by members of THIRTEEN.

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