Hollywood history in pictures at MoMI


Diego Llaca

Walkers: Hollywood Afterlives in Art and Artifact is the latest exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in Brooklyn.

By Carter Glace, Staff Writer

Hollywood is at a bit of a crossroads. With the transition to digital film, the previously-used celluloid is more of a curiosity than vital tool. The era of Hollywood stars has also seemed to meet an end, as actors are no longer bigger than the roles they play. The Museum of the Moving Image creates contemporary art from the icons and images of the past. This dichotomy creates an eclectic, strange and surreal mixing of film history.

The gallery features 11 different sections, each providing radically different experiences. “Still Lives” serves as the introduction to the exhibit, with a beautiful collection of photos showing actors’ past and present in one photo. The results are shockingly seamless and beautiful. Terribly beautiful, the chilling photos of abandoned movie sets in “Still Lives” reveal what happens when nature consumes everything in its path.

The section that has received the most attention is “Dial M for Murder,” a small area dedicated to Hitchcock. Fascinating works, such as diagrams from “Psycho,” are featured. His works have also inspired some impressive new creations, such as a series of clips made up of single second cuts of Hitchcock’s films. It’s both jarring and oddly fluid. What may be the highlight of the entire exhibit maybe be the augmented “Rear Window” piece, which places the environment of the film in a camera, which can be moved around to get different views of the classic set.

There is also a lovely combination of preserved artifacts and artistic creations from “Revenant Riders,” a collection of bits and pieces from the works of John Ford. With an extensive collection of images of the director — such as the exhibition of Ford’s moving eye patch — there are also other great displays for any eager museum visitors, such as scripts from “The Searchers” and a nameplate from Ford.

And another wonderful work of artistic license is “The Heart of Darkness” section. While the majority of the works inside are an impressive collection of pieces from the set of “Apocalypse Now,” there is an impressive attempt to create theoretical posters from the long forgotten attempt by Orson Wells to adapt “Heart of Darkness” into a film.

The myths and images of Hollywood’s past never really die, but rather create an endless supply of undead figures and creations that keep their subjects alive. New artists can make something fresh and transcendent while still preserving the iconic images they alter. No matter how digital Hollywood becomes, there is always something tangible and undying to hold on to.

“Walkers: Hollywood Afterlives in Art and Artifact” is open at the Museum of the Moving Image until April 2016.

A version of this article appeared in the Nov. 30 print edition. Email Carter Glace at [email protected]