Stanley Kubrick at the LACMA

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Location: 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Mid-City West


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Of all the museum banners currently lining the streets of L.A., the infamous face of Jack Nicholson crazily gazing to his left from a scene in the cult classic, The Shining; and the still of a young Michael McDowell as Alex in A Clockwork Orange, catches your eye immediately. Admittedly, I’ve seen only the very basics of Kubrick’s famed filmography –  where oftentimes I found myself very visually stimulated, but had some trouble grasping and melting into the narrative when studying him in film school. What I appreciated about what the LACMA did through their current special exhibition, was introduce me to the other facets of Stanley Kubrick and, even better, it gave me a renewed sense to delve further into his catalog and explore it once again.

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Stanley Kubrick, regarded as a pure auteur, started out as photographer, then documentary filmmaker,  before taking the reigns of scripted storytelling with his first feature film. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art did a phenomenal job capturing the career of a legend.

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{Gallery entrance.}

You’re welcomed into the exhibition with a large montage of his films precisely edited together on a loop before heading into the main gallery to learn of his early beginnings and take (what took us) the nearly 2.5 hour journey through 16 different projects. The space is more than adequately filled with photos, cameras, lenses, posters, archival footage, costumes, props, set models, notebooks, scripts, sketches, and even his research materials.

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{Production photo slide – Lolita.}

I thought the LACMA’s approach of creating a flow as you moved around the galleries was appropriate and added a mood to the experience that brought the visitor directly into the exhibition. During the exploration of his earlier war and noir based films, the galleries were dark and somber. As we moved toward the future in 2001: A Space Odyssey everything suddenly became overwhelmingly stark and bright. When we hit the galleries exploring horror themes, the carpet turned red. In essence, the attention to detail was not missed.

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{Typewriter, The Shining.}

There are two main things I’ll take away from the Stanley Kubrick exhibition: One, an elevated appreciation for him as a filmmaker who undoubtedly took his craft very seriously. This was seen in the extensive notes marked up on various scripts presented throughout the entire show. It was seen in his dedication to an unaccomplished film project, Napoleon, where the LACMA exhibits mounds of research materials Kubrick culminated during the development stages of the project. And two, because of the spotlight brightly shining on his career achievements (and failures) through this wonderful retrospective, my hope is to be able to re-visit those films with more educated, older, and now wiser eyes. Perhaps this time, I can melt into them a little deeper.

I encourage you to visit soon if you can, and take in Kubrick in a way that you likely never have before. The exhibition runs until June 30th.


COSTUMES // SpartacusA Clockwork Orange, The Shining

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PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT // Mitchell BNC camera, Carl Zeiss high speed lenses

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SET MODELS // The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey

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3 thoughts on “Stanley Kubrick at the LACMA

  1. Pingback: Highlights | All That Glitters

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