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Previously inaccessible materials from Kubrick's estate provide an in-depth view of the filmmaker's life and work
2001: A Space Odyssey, directed by Stanley Kubrick (GB/United States; 1965–68). © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1965–68), and A Clockwork Orange (1971) are just a few of Stanley Kubrick’s films that are now considered to be among the most enduring and influential masterpieces in motion picture history. Eccentric in his choice of story, he often probed the extreme limits of the human condition, giving “the world a violent kick up the next rung of the evolutionary ladder,” as film critic David Denby once wrote. A meticulous craftsman, Kubrick exerted complete artistic control over his projects, overseeing filming, writing, editing, and music composition, and in doing so, both reconceived the genres in which he worked and advanced major technological innovations within the art form.

The exhibition, the first dedicated to Kubrick’s life and work, presents materials from the private estate of the film director, inaccessible until 2003 when the exhibition organizer Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt received permission to explore the extensive archives Kubrick had maintained at his home and workplace in London. Kubrick researched everything in detail, amassing boxes of plans, notes, correspondence, scripts, and more. Some of the approximately 800 objects on view, including annotated screenplays, production photography, lenses and cameras, set models, costumes, and props, are also on loan from international collections and private collections.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum is the first Jewish museum to present this stunning exhibition dedicated to one of the most important directors of the twentieth century and we look forward to being part of the conversation about this seminal figure in the film industry,” says Lori Starr, Executive Director of The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM). “The exhibition is a film fan’s dream come true and a chance for those less familiar with his work to delve into the vast achievements of a great multidisciplinary artist and technical innovator.”

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition covers the breadth of Kubrick’s practice, beginning with his early documentary films and the little known photographic works that he created between 1945 and 1950 for the American LOOK magazine, and continuing with his groundbreaking directorial achievements of the 1950s through the 1990s. The visual, acoustic, and architectural composition of his work is explored in several individual gallery spaces dedicated to specific films.

Among the items on display are such iconic objects as the costumes for Starchild and the ape, both from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the little dresses of the sisters from The Shining (1980), the survival kit from Dr. Strangelove, and the ‘Born to kill’ helmet of Private Joker from Full Metal Jacket (1987). With models such as the war room from Dr. Strangelove, the maze from The Shining, and the centrifuge from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the exhibition illustrates the impeccable design of Kubrick’s film sets.

Kubrick’s films are famous for their special effects and innovative camera work. Among the cameras on display are his Bell & Howell Eyemo camera that he used to film Killer’s Kiss (1955), the Mitchell BNC camera, and the Zeiss f0.7 lens developed for NASA which was used for shooting candlelight scenes in Barry Lyndon (1975).

For the very first time, the public will learn about Kubrick’s projects Napoleon and Aryan Papers that were never realized. Materials such as research papers, costume designs, headshots of actors, and shooting scripts serve to document how far Kubrick had pushed the preparations for these films and how comprehensive and at the same meticulous his work style was.

A 30-minute audiovisual presentation explains Kubrick’s use of music in his films and a picture-show retraces his biography. Clips from the films and documentary footage will be shown as well.

Stanley Kubrick was born in 1928 in the Bronx, New York. His parents were American Jews of Central European origin. His father gave him his first camera—a Graflex—for his thirteenth birthday. In 1945, at the age of sixteen, Kubrick had his first photograph published in LOOK magazine. As a staff photographer at LOOK from 1946 to 1951, Kubrick took on a range of assignments, photographing both celebrity subjects and urban life.

Kubrick made his first forays into filmmaking in the 1950s. He made his first film short, Day of the Fight, in 1951; after directing two more shorts, Kubrick directed and produced his first feature-length film, Fear and Desire, in 1953 independently of a studio, which was unusual for the time. Since then, Kubrick followed with such films as Paths of Glory, Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut. A pioneer in special effects and technological advances, Kubrick’s films often included the use of new photographic lenses, long tracking sequences, and orchestral music. With thirteen Academy Award nominations, Kubrick won the Oscar for Best Effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1969. Kubrick died in Harpenden, England, on March 7, 1999, at the age of seventy just after the premiere of his final film Eyes Wide Shut.

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