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NY1 Exclusive: Will Cotton Shares His Sweet Vision For Guggenheim "Peter And The Wolf"

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The Guggenheim Museum has created a new holiday tradition with its yearly winter production of "Peter And The Wolf" to counterbalance all the seasonal "Nutcrackers." While the piece may have no sugar plum fairies, artist Will Cotton give NY1 an exclusive first peek at how the production still has plenty of sugar. NY1's Arts reporter Stephanie Simon filed the following report.

It's easy to feel like a kid in a candy store at artist Will Cotton's TriBeCa studio.

"This is a crown I made recently for a model to wear for one of my paintings. It has hard candies in the front," he says.

Cotton has spent more than a decade using his affection for confection to make art --making it, baking it, photographing it and painting it.

Most recently, he has created an installation for the Guggenheim Museum's new production of "Peter And The Wolf." The gingerbread house will serve as a backdrop for live narration by fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi.

"This is a big part of the whole set for me because this is where the characters are going to come out, just they would on a cuckoo clock, as Isaac is talking about them," says Cotton.

"On top of the irony of the sweet aspect, the sweets, you know, I just think if you’re a kid and you look at that you go like, 'Wow,'" says Mizrahi.

The story is about a boy named Peter who, despite his grandfather’s warning, befriends a wolf. The tale and music were written by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936.

Since 2007, the museum has reimagined it with Mizrahi as narrator, the Juilliard ensemble and a new artist each year, bringing a unique vision to the children's classic.

"This is the best one we’ve ever had," says Mizrahi.

If Cotton's sweet aesthetic seems familiar, he dressed Katy Perry for her "Teenage Dream" album photos and painted her for the cover shot. Cotton was also the artist director for her "California Gurls" video.

Of course, working with peppermint has its perks.

"I have tried honestly cutting them with a knife, scissors, with a saw. Nothing works but biting them," says Cotton.

"Works & Process At The Guggenheim" presents "Peter And The Wolf" this weekend and next. Tickets are $35, and at just 30 minutes, it's certainly short and sweet.

Peter And The Wolf

December 8-9, 14-16
Showtime at 4 p.m.
www.guggenheim.org

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