Laura Eckstein Jones Laura Eckstein Jones | August 12, 2021 | culture Migration
Dorothy’s ruby slippers—designed by Gilbert Adrian—from The Wizard of Oz (1939); a clapperboard for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953); the Oscar statuette presented to Charles Rosher for cinematography of Sunrise (1927); an exterior rendering of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, designed by Renzo Piano. COLLECTION PHOTOS BY JOSHUA WHITE, JWPICTURES/©ACADEMY MUSEUM FOUNDATION; EXTERIOR RENDERING ©RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP/©ACADEMY MUSEUM FOUNDATION/IMAGE FROM L’AUTRE IMAGE
After years of heightened anticipation, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures makes its Los Angeles debut.
Los Angeles has long been the global hub for cinema, yet there hasn’t been a cultural institution devoted to the beloved art. That all changes Sept. 30, when the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opens its doors. “The city of Los Angeles, the film industry and movie lovers from around the world have long desired a cultural institution of significant size and scale that is dedicated to film history and the work of diverse film artists,” says the museum’s director, Bill Kramer. “The Academy Museum is this institution, and I’m so very excited to introduce [it] to all of our visitors. Our mission is to advance the understanding, celebration and preservation of film through inclusive and accessible exhibitions, screenings, programs, initiatives and collections.”
The museum’s opening exhibition on Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki will include a painterly background from The Wind Rises (2013) PHOTO: © 2013 STUDIO GHIBLI - NDHDMTK
Located on the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, the 300,000-square-foot campus was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano and includes a major renovation and expansion to the May Company Building—now renamed the Saban Building in honor of benefactors Cheryl and Haim Saban. Inside, immersive wonders await: 50,000 square feet of exhibition space, two impressive theaters (including the 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater located in the Sphere Building), an education studio, dining and catering led by Bill Chait and Wolfgang Puck, and more will keep visitors engaged.
Housing the Spielberg Family Gallery, the Saban Building’s impressive lobby space is free and open to the public. Beyond that, visitors can explore the core Stories of Cinema exhibition, a riveting, ever-changing experience that spans three floors. “It presents the diverse international stories of moviemakers, the art that they create and the impact they have on the world at large,” says exhibitions curator Jenny He. The first stop of Stories of Cinema includes an immersive installation. “Hanging screens present a kaleidoscopic experience of moviemaking from 1895, and we journey through time, all the way to present-day films,” He explains. “One screen could be playing a scene from The Wizard of Oz while another will show a clip from the first Chinese animated feature film. The idea is that all cinema is happening at the same time—there isn’t one history of film we’re presenting.” Notable artifacts, including Dorothy’s ruby slippers and Rosebud from Citizen Kane, will be on view. Sections focused on animation, directing, makeup and wardrobe artistry, sound design and more are also available to explore.
A rendering of the Encounters gallery in the Stories of Cinema exhibition. ©ACADEMY MUSEUM FOUNDATION/IMAGE BY WHY ARCHITECTURE
A temporary exhibition on Hayao Miyazaki, an immersive Oscars Experience and more can stand alone in drawing in visitors, but, together with the architecture and impressive programming, the appeal of this landmark museum cannot be denied. “Film is one of our most accessible and appreciated art forms, and we are thrilled to be opening an institution that is solely devoted to exploring this art form,” says Kramer. “It is our hope that after people engage with the museum they leave with a better sense of who makes movies, how they are made and why they are such a powerful part of our lives.” academymuseum.org