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Highly Anticipated Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Announces Its Coming Attractions

The long-delayed museum dedicated to filmmaking teases its inaugural exhibitions

Artist's rendering of the museum's "Imagined World" gallery (© Academy Museum Foundation/Gallery Design, Rick Carter and Gallagher & Associates, Artist Illustration, Erik Tiemens)
smithsonian.com

The “past, present and future of cinema” are set to collide when the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, a first-of-its-kind cultural institution, opens its doors in Los Angeles, California, in 2019.

As Dan Schindel reports for Hyperallergic, the highly anticipated museum recently teased its version of a “look at the coming attractions” with the announcement of its inaugural line-up: The permanent display, a two-floor extravaganza entitled Where Dreams Are Made: A Journey Inside the Movies, will delve into the storied history of the movie business through artifacts ranging from Dorothy’s ruby slippers to the typewriter used to compose Psycho and the doors to Casablanca hang-out Rick’s Café; the museum’s first temporary exhibitions, a retrospective of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (the mastermind behind such classics as Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away) created in collaboration with the Studio Ghibli archives and an interactive installation created by Tokyo art collective teamLab, will occupy the building’s fourth-floor galleries.

According to the New York Times’ Brooks Barnes, the 30,000-square-foot permanent exhibition is set to dominate the $388 million museum, encompassing an array of galleries devoted to subjects such as screenwriting, special effects and the technology that powers cinema. In addition to drawing on items from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ extensive collections, Where Dreams Are Made will spotlight specific chapters of movie history, including the stories of female filmmaking pioneers Alice Guy-Blache and Lois Weber, Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein, and the rise of India’s independent movie industry.

The Hollywood studio system, a monopolistic mode of production that enabled five companies—Paramount Pictures, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Warner Brothers Pictures, 20th Century Fox and RKO—to dominate during the so-called Golden Age, represents another significant stop in the line-up, delving into the good and the bad of the “factory” that gave rise to film icons including Humphrey Bogart, Joan Crawford and Clark Gable.

Writing for the Hollywood Reporter, Gregg Kilday explains that the permanent display follows up its exploration of classical Hollywood with a pair of complementary galleries dubbed “Real World” and “Imaginary World.” The former examines Cold War filmmaking, Italian neorealism and the French New Wave, while the latter celebrates fantasy. In an extremely fitting move, visitors making their way between the two rooms must pass through a corridor inspired by the “Stargate” sequence of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Tantalizingly the Miyazaki retrospective, which is curated by Jessica Niebel, will include screenings of the director’s films, as well as character designs, storyboards, film clips, concept sketches and even “immersive environments” of Miyazaki’s animated worlds. As museum director Kerry Brougher tells Kilday, "We felt it was important to come out of the gate with an international figure ... rather than a Hollywood figure that might have been expected."

Following the close of the Miyazaki exhibition, Regeneration: Black Cinema 1900-1970 will fill the museum’s fourth-floor galleries. As Brougher explains in an interview with Hyperallergic’s Schindel, Regeneration will have a more scholarly focus than its predecessor, with displays revealing the “important and largely unrecognized history of African-American filmmakers in the development of American cinema.”

The museum’s latest announcement also included one less welcome development: Rather than opening in mid-2019, the space is now set to make its debut in late 2019. But if early reports are any indication, the museum—much like the art it celebrates—will be well worth the build-up.

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