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Ydessa Hendeles has collected 3000 photographs that only have in common the presence of a teddy bear, the quintessential transitional object for generations of children. The amateur photographs, found mostly on eBay, are arranged in order of posture and social status and are framed and hung from floor to ceiling.
As the artist herself writes “The collection is a reflection of the values of society at the time the photographs were taken. It is notable not only for what it includes but for what is absent. Only one photograph of a child with Down Syndrome was discovered, and only one portrait of a child with a cleft palate.”
“It ends up being about more than the bears themselves,” said Emily Mello, the museum’s associate director of education said, about “how people choose to frame themselves with the bears.” Visitors, she added, can “see how one common object is an entry point for an infinite number of histories.”
Although those histories can be tragic — the teddy bear owners include future Holocaust victims and at least one suicide — others reflect only youthful joy. And while young museumgoers probably won’t recognize Elvis, Ringo or Lucille Ball in their photos, they’ll see that grown-ups posed with teddy bears, too.
Teddy bear "Terracotta Warriors" are seen at an exhibition in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, May 15, 2016. More than 500 hand-made teddy bear terracotta figures made their first appearance at the exhibition on Sunday.
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When Sebastian Flyte took his teddy bear Aloysius to university in Brideshead Revisited it was supposed to be a sign of his eccentricity. But in the years since the 1980s TV dramatization, it seems more and more Britons have come to see nothing wrong with keeping ted in the bed. More than a third of us still hug a childhood soft toy while falling asleep, according to a survey of 6,000 British adults.
More than half of Britons still have a teddy bear from childhood and the average teddy bear is 27 years old. Those who slept with a teddy told researchers that they found it was a comforting and calming way to de-stress at the end of the day. And 25 per cent of men polled said they took their teddy away with them on business because it reminded them of home. Even Prince Charles travels everywhere with his childhood teddy, according to claims in a book by the U.S. writer Christopher Andersen.
Hotel chain Travelodge, which carried out the research, said that in the past year staff have reunited more than 75,000 teddies and their owners. Spokesman Shakila Ahmed said: ‘Interestingly the owners have not just been children, we have had a large number of frantic businessmen and women call us regarding their forgotten teddy bear.’
- I'll fight you with my bear hands! - Oh deer.
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Unwisely, Santa offered a teddy bear to James, unaware that he had been mauled by a grizzly earlier that year.
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