MUA MAG Article #1
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Make-up Tell Tales in Museum of Moving Image Exhibit
Many familiar faces greet you as you tour the make-up exhibit. There's Chewbacca of Star Wars; John Merrick, the Elephant Man; Mrs. Doubtfire and the mask that turned Jim Carry well into the mask.
It's hard not to say "WOW!!"
And Dr. Barbara Miller, the museums collection curator doesn't mind at all. "That kind of wow moment is great." she said "And it's certainly nothing we want to dissuade" but the museum, located in Queens NY, is aiming higher then that. Closed for 3 years for a $67 million renovation, the museum reopened it's doors in Jan with the goal of having it's 130,000 plus film, TV and video pieces tell the complete story of the moving image. "The mission of the museum is not to be memorabilia it's really about showing the process....peeling back the layers and understanding what goes into the material in terms of work, history and culture" Said Miller who became the curator 2 years ago.
The efforts regarding the make-up collection are all the more impressive when you realize the subjects transitory nature. Most pieces are designed to be discarded once used. It's not unusual for items in this sections to have been recreated or restored. "It's not made to last forever," concurred Miller, who said the museum as been acquiring articles since inception in 1981.
They have pieces that represents movie milestones, Miller cites Little Big Man and Dick Smith pioneering prosthetic application for the film as a good example. "We have the molds. We have the study molds he created for the heads. We have the lines dividing the face into different appliances." Said Miller "We could have told the whole story in the text panel but to actually have the materials speaks volumes."
Ever growing, the exhibition recently added the elaborate make-up kits used to glamorize the four Sex and The City stars and a couple of Mike Marion's prosthetics from Black Swan.
"I think Rick Baker's work is the real missing link for us" she said, "We need representative pieces from him." The museum is reaching out to Baker and is sure its persistence and patience will ultimately pay off.
---- Chris Koseluk
Taken from Make-up Artist Magazine issue 89
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