The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are co-presenting a retrospective of the life of one of the greatest directors of all time, Stanley Kubrick. The interdisciplinary exhibition of the legendary filmmaker’s work is the first of it’s kind in the United States. Kubrick’s internal approach to content and form resulted in cinematic masterpieces that remain eternal.
The impressive Los Angeles presentation was designed by industry production designer Patti Podesta, and is organized thematically through a thoughtful selection of archival material, annotated scripts, photography, costumes, cameras and equipment, set models, and props. The retrospective illuminates the filmmaker’s personal influences, fixations and fascinations that manifested in recurring themes in his films.
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt died in 1945, a sixteen-year-old teenager photographed a distraught newspaper vendor next to the papers historic headline, “F.D.R. Dead.” The show begins with the pivotal photograph that kicked off Kubrick’s professional career as the youngest staff photographer at American magazine Look, and displays many more taken by young Kubrick between 1945 and 1951.
Constantly examining the irrational terrors that govern human beings, Kubrick’s films deal with human vanity and frailty in a way no filmmaker has matched. The subject of war was clearly a powerful fascination for the director. The exhibition showcases the director’s deep observation of war. As he depicted in Path of Glory, “For all its horror, war is pure drama, probably because it is one of the few remaining situations where men stand up for and speak up for what they believe to be their principles.”
“For all its horror, war is pure drama, probably because it is one of the few remaining situations where men stand up for and speak up for what they believe to be their principles.” – Stanley Kubrick
His methods and unorthodox structures went against the grain and for that very reason, established him as a budding genius in the eyes of early critics. Kubrick is often described as an “auteur” whereby the director, rather than the screenwriter, is regarded as the “author” of the film. Ultimately, the fusion of content with style and the director’s voice are so deeply intertwined that one cannot consider them as distinct from each other.
LACMA is taking great strides in honoring film alongside art and integrating it into the museum beginning with film-based exhibition Dali: Painting and Film, Tim Burton and now Stanley Kubrick. The Academy also joins LACMA in celebrating the life and career of Stanley Kubrick with a film program and satellite exhibition at its world headquarters in Beverly Hills. In addition, the Academy is leading the effort to create the world’s foremost motion picture museum, which will stand next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The museum will contain 230,000 square feet of state-of-the-art theaters, galleries, screening rooms, interactive sound stages, education centers and special event spaces.
Film buffs and movie geeks alike, this is the exhibition to experience. For the rest, it is a show that educates and enlightens about the stuff that only great art is made of – the internal and personal relationship between the artist and subject. The retrospective is vast so be sure to set aside a good chunk of time to allow all your senses to imbibe this cinematic journey.
November 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles – Miracle Mile