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By Astrid Peeters

    Along all the major boulevards in Los Angeles 

 banners are waving to lure me

to the Stanley Kubrick exhibition at

the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

 Of course I’m familiar with film director Stanley Kubrick (New York, 1928) and his work. As a teenager I watched A Clockwork Orange and The Shining, because that is just one of the things you do at that age. But what did I actually know about him? His first museum retrospective on U.S. soil not only taught me more about his featured films but also the celebrated artist himself.

Although I missed a brief biography at the entrance of LACMA’s Art of the Americas Building, Kubrick’s life and evolution as an artist and filmmaker are clear as you move through the exhibition space. He started as a photographer in New York and soon made the move to documentaries, but he was not equally proud of all of his creations. For example, Fear and Desire, one of his first feature films, is not shown in the exhibition out of respect for the famed director’s wishes.

Whether you’re interested in Kubrick’s personal life, the technology behind his award winning films, or the memorabilia from his many cult classics, the exhibition seems to have something for everyone.  Kubrick was a passionate chess player and the game appeared in many of his masterpieces. Did you ever notice the checkerboard pattern on the floor of Paths of Glory? The exhibition features other sources of inspiration, from his great love for
film noir to the copious amounts of research for unrealized projects such as The Aryan Papers and Napoleon.  While walking through the different rooms romantic souls will find their liking in the many personal letters Kubrick received. Ranging from protest letters from church communities in response to Lolita to a very personal letter from Sue Lyon, the actress who played Lolita.

For the techies among us the exhibition includes a treasure trove of lenses and cameras that Kubrick used during his career, as well as an in-depth examination into the visual effects of a few of his acclaimed films.

And last but not least the real movie fanatics are well served with a variety of memorabilia from the films. Many of his major films have their own section in the exhibition, complete with props, costumes, set models, film stills, and annotated scripts.  The area dedicated to The Shining features the famed typewriter, complete with Jack’s notes, the dresses of the Grady twins, and even the ax, precariously coming out of the wall.  Did you know that the terrifying girls in The Shining, the Grady Twins, were based on a photo by famed photographer Diane Arbus?  The exhibition includes the original photograph, as well as a book with other examples of Arbus’ photography.


The exhibition was rife with little known facts, such as how 2001: A Space Odyssey was an ingenious form of product placement avant la lettre and how they created the gigantic white wheel that was inside the Discovery One spacecraft.  Let me be honest, this exhibition exceeded my expectations and now I can actually say ‘I know Stanley Kubrick.

Stanley Kubrick will be on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art until June 30, 2013.


Astrid Peeters, a Belgian PR student with a background in art history. She studies in Antwerp, Belgium’s unofficial fashion capital and tries to visit as many exhibitions as possible around the world. 

For more Art related articles see below

 MMJ. Art Articles.    

For more Art related articles see below

 MMJ. Film Articles.    

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