Spike Lee, Pedro Almodóvar to Curate Inaugural Academy Museum Exhibitions

Museum located at the historic Saban Building will also feature exhibitions on “The Matrix” and the Oscars Experience

Last Updated: April 4, 2020 @ 11:22 AM

The Academy Museum on Saturday detailed what will be some of its inaugural exhibitions when it opens in December, with directors Spike Lee and Pedro Almodóvar, composer Hildur Guðnadóttir and sound designer Ben Burtt to curate galleries in the museum.

The four collaborators will contribute to the Stories of Cinema galleries located on the second and third floors of the Saban Building. The galleries will explore all aspects of the art and science of moviemaking and over time will rotate out and change with new movies, artists, eras and genres being highlighted.

Some of the initial films and artists who will be spotlighted in the galleries exploring the history of cinema will include Bruce Lee, cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, and the films “Citizen Kane” and “Real Women Have Curves.” The galleries will dives deeply into the worlds of casting and performance, costume, hair and makeup design, the components of sound design, the work of cinematographers and the creation of a story, as well as a variety of other genres and filmmaking styles.

The Academy Museum also unveiled new immersive experiences. The Hurd Gallery will feature the original multi-camera rig from “The Matrix” and tells how the Wachowskis used the rig to create the film’s iconic “Bullet Time” effect that you can experience on the original green screen set.

And in the East West Bank Gallery, attendees can see the Oscars Experience, which will simulate the feeling of walking onto the Dolby Theatre stage to accept an Oscar.

Finally, the space will also open with an exhibition of pre-cinema objects, such as magic lanterns, zoetropes, camera obscuras a Cinématographe Lumière and more.

These galleries all come in addition to the previously announced history of “The Wizard of Oz,” a history of the Academy Awards, and an exhibition of the films of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, the first time the studio has collaborated with an institution for such a gallery outside of Japan.

That exhibition will be temporary and will be replaced in Fall 2021 with Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971, which explores the history, artists and visual culture of Black cinema in America and its manifold expressions from its early days to the Civil Rights movement and just beyond.

“We will open the Academy Museum with exhibitions and programs that will illuminate the complex and fascinating world of cinema–its art, technology, artists, history, and social impact–through a variety of diverse and engaging voices. We will tell complete stories of moviemaking–celebratory, educational, and sometimes critical and uncomfortable. Global in outlook and grounded in the unparalleled collections and expertise of the Academy, these first exhibitions will establish this museum as incomparable in the world of cinema,” Academy Museum director Bill Kramer said in a statement.

Kramer continued: “We are keenly aware that we’re working towards the opening of the Academy Museum during a time of great challenge. Over the past century, motion pictures have reflected and impacted major historical issues and events. The stories we tell in the Academy Museum are part of those bigger stories, and we are committed to highlighting the social impact of motion pictures. We look forward to brighter days for everyone, everywhere.”

Kramer also announced that studio wHY Architecture has been retained to finalize the design of the galleries in the museum’s Saban Building. The project is led by the Director of wHY’s Museums Workshop Brian Butterfield and lead exhibition designer Jarrod Beck with creative direction from the studio’s founder Kulapat Yantrasast.

“The Board of Trustees is extremely enthusiastic about how the exhibition, design, and programming plans for the Museum have developed. We very much look forward to movie lovers around the world experiencing the thoughtful and unprecedented content the Academy Museum has to offer when its doors open,” Ron Meyer, chair of the Academy Museum Board of Trustees and vice chairman of NBCUniversal, said in a statement.

“When our long-held dream comes true, and we open our doors to the world, the Academy’s vast collection will be on display to the general public for the first time. The Academy Museum will be an ongoing showcase for the creativity and ingenuity of today’s greatest moviemakers. We are thrilled to have Academy members and Oscar® winners Spike Lee, Pedro Almodóvar, Hildur Guðnadóttir, and Ben Burtt participating in our opening exhibitions,” Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement.

Despite the shutdowns from the coronavirus, Kramer has said in interviews that the Academy Museum is still on track to open on Dec. 14, 2020 after many years of delays.

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