Most of the props, sets, costumes, and models from the film 2001: A Apace Odyssey (1968) were intentionally destroyed by Director Stanley Kubrick to prevent their reuse in other productions; this surviving Aries 1B Spaceship Model is a rarity.
You loved his homage to the contemporary art world in Art Army Royalty; you thrilled to his Star Wars character mashups with Empire Peaks; and now, Mike Leavitt returns for his third solo exhibition at Jonathan LeVine, King Cuts – honoring the artist’s obsession with 16 of the Best Film Directors Ever! And what great show it is!
Great film directors make sacrifices and compromises when creating a movie. They’re eaten by their work and very often their body succumbs to the pressure. In King Cuts, Leavitt transforms some of the most renowned directors into satirical sculptures, combining their physical attributes with features reminiscent of their most recognizable on-screen characters. Standing 18 inches tall at one quarter inch scale, each sculpture is carved from a single block of wood, similar to the way these auteurs might cut a take or reel.
Through his clever mash-ups, Leavitt has created totems devoted to the best story tellers of all-time that explore the role of being an artist and pose the question, is it possible not to merge art and life?
Similar to the way Kubrick, Spielberg and Tarantino use the camera like a window to gaze out, Leavitt humorously reverts the gaze back to them. Under their control or not, work sweeps over the life of the creator. Their imagery becomes more powerful than themselves and their icons overtake their anatomy.
Mike also made a set of collectible trading cards of each of the Director’s Sculptures, and the back of each one has a little story about each character.
Leavitt is obviously a passionate film buff who aims to elevate these directors as high artists, while also surreally lampooning them with a taste of their own iconic medicine. He explains, “I love movies and I love art. The magic overwhelms me. Moviemakers are consumed by their work, similar to the way my own work overtakes my life. Whether a block of wood, a scene ending or film reel edit, every cut takes conviction. Trust in that vision is so powerful that they relinquish their anatomy. That’s why I sculpted their bodies physically devoured by their work.”
Mike Leavitt’s talent is just insane. The details of each sculpture are absolutely breathtaking and this exhibit is lots of fun to experience in person. Don’t miss it!
As the Sun moves officially into the Sign of Aquarius on January 20th, it’s wildly appropriate to post this truly visually groundbreaking video for “I’m Aquarius” from Britain’s modern pop act, Metronomy. This song speaks to me on one level because I, too, am an Aquarius. But more than this very catchy song that reminds of me of something you might hear from MGMT or Beck, the video itself is just ridiculously great. It’s like Kubrick’s 2001: a Space Odyssey in a four minute video. Insane. “I’m Aquarius” is from Metronomy’s upcoming new album, Love Letters, which will be released on March 11th, 2014 on Elektra Records (Yeah, Baby!). Enjoy!
While I was at the LA County Museum of Art this past December to see the Stanley Kubrick retrospective, I also enjoyed the experience of stumbling upon Chris Burden’s room-sized kinetic sculpture, Metropolis II – the focal points of which are 1,100 Hot Wheels cars. Continue reading Chris Burden’s Metropolis II at LACMA
While I was in California over the Christmas holidays, I was fortunate to be able to check out the Stanley Kubrick Career Retrospective at LACMA – which was just amazing! I absolutely loved the exhibit and took a bunch of pictures, some of which I’ll share with you in this post.
As the museum’s website concisely describes the exhibit: “Stanley Kubrick was known for exerting complete artistic control over his projects; in doing so, he re-conceived the genres in which he worked. The exhibition covers the breadth of Kubrick’s practice, beginning with his early photographs for Look magazine, taken in the 1940s, and continuing with his groundbreaking directorial achievements of the 1950s through the 1990s. His films are represented through a selection of annotated scripts, production photography, lenses and cameras, set models, costumes and props.
In addition, the exhibition explores Napoleon and The Aryan Papers, two projects that Kubrick never completed, as well as the technological advances developed and utilized by Kubrick and his team. By featuring this legendary film auteur and his oeuvre as the focus of his first retrospective in the context of an art museum, the exhibition reevaluates how we define the artist in the 21st century, and simultaneously expands upon LACMA’s commitment to exploring the intersection of art and film.”
Below is a selection of my photos from the show, representative of an overview of the exhibit. Enjoy!
Above and Below, 2001 Miniature Model Set
Kubrick’s epic period drama, Barry Lyndon, is represented mostly by its lavish costumes. Barry Lyndon is a fantastic film if you have three hours to devote to a viewing.
Signage and Props from the Korovoa Milk Bar scene in A Clockwork Orange — My favorite movie of all time!
Droog Costume worn by Malcolm McDowell as Alex, A Clockwork Orange. Notice the skewed shadow of the baton against the wall.
Alex’s Turntable. Trivia: the British band Heaven 17 took their name from the pre-orgy record store scene in this film.
The Shining Production Stills. Note the emphatic use of the color red, which Kubrick employed in each of his films to heighten the emotional impact of certain scenes.
The Shining’s Grady Sisters Dresses and Shoes
Masks from Eyes Wide Shut
AI Set Rendering
Stanley Kubrick Runs Through June 30, 2013 in the Art of the Americas Building, Level 2 at LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Admission to the Exhibit, which includes Admission to all Galleries, is $20.00.