john waters exhibition unveils eccentric cinematic world at academy museum of motion pictures

john waters exhibition unveils eccentric cinematic world at academy museum of motion pictures

john waters: pope of trash – academy museum of motion pictures

 

From September 17, 2023, to August 4, 2024, the Renzo Piano-designed Academy Museum of Motion Pictures presents John Waters: Pope of Trash, the first comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the artist’s profound impact on cinema. Delving into his creative process, recurring themes, and acclaimed approach to filmmaking, this show illuminates the grotesque, daring, intentionally kitschy, and provocative elements that have characterized Waters’ six-decade career in film.

 

The exhibition takes visitors on a comprehensive journey through Waters’ entire filmography, from his do-it-yourself independent beginnings to his rebellious Hollywood productions. Introducing a collection of four shorts and twelve feature films, it offers an in-depth exploration of his cinematic universe. In collaboration with John Waters, anointed the Pope of Trash by author William S. Burroughs, and working closely with members of his casts and crews, co-curators Jenny He and Dara Jaffe have selected over 400 artifacts, most of which have remained hidden from the public eye.

john waters exhibition unveils eccentric cinematic world at academy museum of motion pictures
portrait of John Waters | photo by Greg Gorman, © Academy Museum Foundation

 

 

journey into john waters’ cinematic universe

 

Upon entering the exhibition at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (find more here), visitors are greeted by an introductory gallery that immerses them in an abstract chapel setting, referencing various facets of John Waters’s personal history and his cinematic journey. This gallery serves as a gateway to exploring the filmmaker’s formative years and early works, including Hag in a Black Leather Jacket (1964)—Waters’s first film, an 8mm short made when he was 17 years old—as well as Roman Candles (1967). These films, along with Eat Your Makeup (1968), Mondo Trasho (1969), and The Diane Linkletter Story (1970), have been carefully restored by the Academy Film Archive for the exhibition. Film materials for the latter three have been loaned from the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

 

Individual feature films such as Mondo Trasho, Multiple Maniacs (1970), Pink Flamingos (1972), Female Trouble (1974), Desperate Living (1977), Polyester (1981), Hairspray (1988), Cry-Baby (1990), Serial Mom (1994), Pecker (1998), Cecil B. Demented (2000), and A Dirty Shame (2004) are explored in-depth through a captivating array of artifacts including handwritten scripts, set decorations, costumes, props, production designs, posters, correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, and film clips. At the heart of the exhibition is an immersive gallery that highlights the recurring themes of music and dance throughout Waters’ films. The exhibition concludes with a dedicated gallery celebrating Waters’s cult status, featuring fan art and other tributes to the filmmaker’s illustrious career.

john waters exhibition unveils eccentric cinematic world at academy museum of motion pictures
John Waters: Pope of Trash, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | photo by Charles White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

 

 

‘I offer my deep gratitude to John for trusting our museum with the formidable endeavor of telling the story of his vast film career. As the subject of numerous exhibitions on his visual art and photography, John is accustomed to the process of exhibition making. For John Waters: Pope of Trash, he has uniquely plumbed decades of remembrances and searched high and low — literally attics and basements — for the works seen in this exhibition.’ shares Jacqueline Stewart, Director and President of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. 

 

‘Known for pushing the boundaries of ‘good taste,’ Waters has created a canon of high shock-value, high-entertainment movies that have cemented his position as one of the most revered independent auteurs in the history of American movies,” said Academy Museum Exhibitions Curator Jenny He and Associate Curator Dara Jaffe. Waters’ subversive audacity is matched only by his loving treatment of his characters. His cinematic worlds—consistently set in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland—are absent of mean spirit, which could account for his current phase of respectability, garnered despite decades of gleefully making ‘trash’ films.’

john waters exhibition unveils eccentric cinematic world at academy museum of motion pictures
John Waters: Pope of Trash, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | photo by Charles White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

john waters exhibition unveils eccentric cinematic world at academy museum of motion pictures
John Waters: Pope of Trash, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | photo by Charles White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

john waters exhibition unveils eccentric cinematic world at academy museum of motion pictures
John Waters: Pope of Trash, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | photo by Charles White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

john-waters-retrospective-academy-museum-of-motion-pictures-designboom-full-02

John Waters: Pope of Trash, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | photo by Charles White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

john waters exhibition unveils eccentric cinematic world at academy museum of motion pictures
John Waters: Pope of Trash, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | photo by Charles White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

john waters exhibition unveils eccentric cinematic world at academy museum of motion pictures
John Waters: Pope of Trash, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | photo by Charles White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

john-waters-retrospective-academy-museum-of-motion-pictures-designboom-full-01

John Waters: Pope of Trash, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | photo by Charles White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

john waters exhibition unveils eccentric cinematic world at academy museum of motion pictures
John Waters: Pope of Trash, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | photo by Charles White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

john waters exhibition unveils eccentric cinematic world at academy museum of motion pictures
John Waters: Pope of Trash, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | photo by Charles White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

john-waters-retrospective-academy-museum-of-motion-pictures-designboom-full-04

John Waters: Pope of Trash, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | photo by Charles White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

john waters exhibition unveils eccentric cinematic world at academy museum of motion pictures
John Waters: Pope of Trash, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | photo by Charles White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

john waters exhibition unveils eccentric cinematic world at academy museum of motion pictures
John Waters: Pope of Trash, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | photo by Charles White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

 

 

project info: 

 

exhibition name: John Waters: Pope of Trash
artist: John Waters
location: Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Los Angeles
dates: September 17, 2023 – August 4, 2024

 

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