The Marionettes of Donald Cordry

The green fairy is one of four marionettes used by Donald Cordry in his production of "The Three Wishes" that played in Minneapolis between 1930-1934. "The Three Wishes" was first written as a play for puppets by German writer Fronz von Pocci around 1900 and continues to be a popular play performed in many versions. Hand carved from wood, the fairy has an ethereal green painted face with joined eyebrows, black lips, large eyes with some hint of Asiatic features. She wears a clear blue glass pagoda head ornament in her golden hair , and she is wearing a long blue-green velvet dress, with beige tights,and rhinestone shoes with leather heels. Her wings are made of plastic. These charming carved and painted marionettes are great examples of Cordry's decorative sense of design and craftsmanship. The angel is operated with an airplane holder and eight strings.

The Three Wishes was first written as a play for puppets by German writer Fronz von Pocci around 1900. Donald Cordry (1907-1978) was a well known and highly respected American artist, craftsmen and puppeteer of the 1920s and 30s. He was gifted with a great decorative sense and his craftsmanship was extraordinary. Born in Minnesota, Cordry attended the Minneapolis School of Art from 1924-1929 and after graduation he went to work for the Board of Education. While his main job was to lecture and teach classes, Cordry took used the opportunity to create and perform his own marionette show with both hand puppets and marionettes. From late 1930 to early 1931 Cordry joined the Rufus Rose Company, owned by Rupert and Margo Rose that played the school and college circuit on the East coast. In the summer of 1931 he traveled to Mexico where he developed a life long interest and dedication to the arts and landscape of Mexico. An avid collector of ethnographic material for over 40 years, Cordry amassed a large collection of indigenous Mexican arts and crafts which he meticulously documented and researched. His passion also included Native American cultures, and in the mid 1930s he worked at the Heye Museum of Indian Art in New York City where he cataloged and researched objects for the museum. (The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History owns a large collection of Mexican masks donated by the Cordry family in the early 1980s.) After returning to Minneapolis in late 1931, Cordry started creating his own puppets. He formed his own company and performed shows until 1934.

The Dolly Sisters and the Three Wishes were popular with young and old audiences alike. In June of 1934, Cordry moved to New York and worked with Tony Sarg, a well known and established puppeteer in his own right, and taught classes at Sarg's Summer School. Cordry made a number of puppets for Sarg and toured with his company from 1934-1936. By 1937 poor health forced him to give up puppetry and he moved to Mexico. He did however, continue his field research on indigenous peoples and later on published two books - Mexican Indian Costumes (1968) and Mexican Masks (c1980). "The Three WIshes" was Cordry's final production before he moved to Mexico with his wife. The puppets and sets from this production were shipped in crates to Mexico and remained there almost fifty years. In 1982, his widow Dorothy Mann Cordry donated this collections to the Smithsonian which included not only the marionettes, but props made to scale and a fully operational puppet stage.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Oct 15, 2018 - Comments (5)
Category: Art, Design and Designers, Puppets and Automatons, 1930s

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 16

Xul Solar, "San P," 1923

I think we should just nominate Xul Solar as someone whose entire output would have displeased our Soviet realist.

More images here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Oct 09, 2018 - Comments (3)
Category: Art, Avant Garde, 1920s, Russia

Follow a stranger

Apparently there's a long history of artists surreptitiously following strangers around in cities, just to see what happens. It's called the Art of Following. More details from Debbie Kent in the Guardian:

“Follow a stranger” is one of the instructions I’ve been given by Serbian artist Miloš Tomić in what is billed as an alternative tour of the city, and I really enjoy it, while also feeling as if I’m doing something a little bit wrong...
My assignment from Tomić is, of course, not intended to upset anyone. Rather, what I’m doing is a one-off exercise, and, as artist and writer Phil Smith puts it, is handing over control of exploring the city to someone else, chosen at random.
Smith regularly gives this task to students of theatre and performance at the University of Plymouth, seeing it as a valuable exercise. “The idea is that you’re exploring the space but someone else dictates it to you – it neutralises your will,” he says. “The intention – or hope – is that the followed person will lead you into places you haven’t been before.”

I don't see anything that could possibly go wrong with following a complete stranger around.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 28, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Really Bad Ideas


I actually kinda like listening to the German I can't understand. Allows me to focus on the art and imagine how it's done.

Here's the Wikipedia page, which tells hardly anything more.

Here's the full version of that animated feature seen briefly above.

The artist's Wikipedia entry.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 23, 2018 - Comments (0)
Category: Art, Stop-motion Animation

Macaroni woman of the year

Since I posted a few days ago about eggplants that looked like Richard Nixon, I thought it only fitting to also note that his wife, Patricia, had her own food thing going on. In 1970, she was named Macaroni Woman of the Year by the National Macaroni Institute. She also had her portrait painted out of macaroni by the artist Don Wheeler.

Redlands Daily Facts - Oct 1, 1970

Wilkes Barre Times Leader - Apr 14, 1971

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 01, 2018 - Comments (4)
Category: Art, Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Food, Politics

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 15

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 17, 2018 - Comments (6)
Category: Art, Avant Garde, 1940s, Russia

Eye worm art

Artist Ben Taylor drew a painting that featured “psychedelic colors and wormlike patterns inside a perfectly round circle.” Only later did he realize that he had parasitic worms in his eye, and he thinks they might have subconsciously inspired him. From The Durango Herald:

"I definitely believe that the worms had a hand in that painting,” he said, adding later: “When you kind of look into the nitty-gritty of how much of the human body actually contains your DNA versus the billions of different bacteria that live within us, you start realizing that you’re an ecology of beings that live within us.

He later adapted his painting to make it more obviously an eye infected by parasitic worms, and as a result it’s been chosen as the cover art for this month’s issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Aug 13, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Art, Health, Disease, Eyes and Vision

Eisenhower on Modern Art

Apparently, Nikita K. wasn't the only critic of modern art outraged by the 1959 exhibition, as you can see from the article below. Eisenhower and Harry Truman weighed in at times.

But Eisenhower, like George W. Bush today, also painted as well, presumably showing us what he regarded as good art.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Aug 12, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Government, 1950s, Russia

Toothpaste Artist

Adding another item to the ongoing list of weird things that artists paint with: toothpaste.

It's the medium of choice for Mexican artist Cristiam Ramos, and I've got to admit, the results are pretty impressive. Business Insider has a video of him at work, which includes the following quote:

One of my favorites is the portrait of Robin Williams. He was one of my favorite artists. I [felt] so sad when he passed that I wanted to create something that has so much of him, and that’s the smile that he gave us. That’s why I made him with toothpaste.

His website.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Aug 05, 2018 - Comments (6)
Category: Art

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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