LACMA illuminates Kubrick’s genius

Instead of shopping, gorging on leftovers and dealing with family, large crowds swarmed the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Friday afternoon. While some attendees were there to listen to a jazz band perform in the courtyard, most stood in line waiting to admire Stanley Kubrick’s iconic art. The exhibit, simply titled “Stanley Kubrick,” is comprised of studio photographs, props, costumes, annotated script excerpts, and hundreds more artifacts that encompass Kubrick’s filmography.

The most appreciable thing about the exhibition is patrons do not need to be fans of Kubrick’s work. A film lounge is set up at the entrance of the exhibit, screening clips of Kubrick’s films, in chronological order. These three to five minute clips serve as “Cliff Notes to Kubrick.”

When the film excerpts begin to loop you can move into the exhibition, where the eye-catching wall of movie posters greets you. The wall is dressed from head to toe with placards for Kubrick’s films. A very bright, orange poster for “La Naranja Mecanica” advertises the 1971 cult classic, “A Clockwork Orange,” while the commanding poster for “2001: A Space Odyssey” looms overhead.

Directly across the wall is a display case full of various camera lenses used by Kubrick in his filmmaking and photography.

Kubrick’s life behind the camera began in his late teens when Look magazine hired him as their youngest staff photographer ever. On display are his impressive photo essays for the publication and various photographs he shot on film sets; photos of Frank Sinatra are the most recognizable. One can easily spend 15 to 20 minutes gazing at all the prints, admiring the humble beginnings of an American legend.

Wandering through the exhibit, we come across the displays for all of Kubrick’s films. Private Joker’s Mickey Mouse watch is on display along with his glasses and helmet in the “Full Metal Jacket” area of the exhibit. The lonely Adler typewriter – on which Jack Torrance typed out “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” sits on a table in the middle of the section designated to “The Shining.”

In addition, portions of the exhibition are dedicated to explaining the symbolic aspects of his enigmatic films.

An entire wall is devoted to Kubrick’s use of the color red. For example, according to a caption at the exhibit,  “The Shining’s” red is the hotel’s color, but it is also assigned to Danny, who always wears some red clothing during his ESP episodes. The captions also explain that in “A Clockwork Orange,” Kubrick used a red element in the frame to signify that a change is pending.

There was another room screening excerpts of Kubrick’s films accompanied by their respective soundtracks. The video explains Kubrick’s use of string instruments, like a violin solo, to signify a dramatic change in a character’s life. Also, the video mentioned Kubrick’s fascination with classical music and how he hardly ever used scores in his films.

With film props and costumes, production photographs and enlightening film clips, “Stanley Kubrick” is delighful. But, for real Kubrick enthusiasts, it’s an eye-opening adventure into the mind of a revolutionary cinematic genius.

“Stanley Kubrick” will run through Jun. 30 at LACMA. The tickets are $20, and from now until Feb. 10, a ticket to “Kubrick” grants admission to LACMA’s “Caravaggio and his Legacy” and all other LACMA galleries. LACMA is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Wednesday, open Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.