Historically, the City of Angels has always been the city of dreams, the great majority revolving around the silver screen. The motion picture industry was largely responsible for Los Angeles's founding, so it has always seemed odd that this industry town has never had a museum dedicated to cinema. That is until now: Under the creative eye of Renzo Piano, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, devoted to both the art and science of moviemaking, is currently being built and is slated to open in late 2019.
The work of the Pritzker Prize winner, along with executive architect Gensler, will be housed in the 1939 May Company Building at the intersection of Wilshire and Fairfax, with renovation and expansion a part of the scheme. When completed, the six-floor museum will encompass 300,000 square feet with permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, an education studio, and two theaters. Its jewel in the crown is a spherical addition capped by a glass dome offering panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills.
Planning is well under way for exhibits. A long-term exhibition, tentatively titled Where Dreams Are Made: A Journey Inside the Movies, will occupy 30,000 square feet over two floors and feature film presentations and key objects from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' extensive collection. The inaugural temporary exhibition will be a retrospective of Japanese animator and filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, the choice emphasizing the fact that the museum will be global in reach, not just a monument to Hollywood. The exhibition, a first in the U.S., will touch upon Miyazaki's entire body of 11 animated features. Also on the schedule: Regeneration: Black Cinema 1900-1970 (on view in 2020) and an interactive installation, Transcending Boundaries, by the Tokyo-based collective teamLab. An exhibition dedicated to the creation of the iconic 1939 Hollywood film The Wizard of Oz is in the works as well.
Just as movie-viewing is a full-immersion experience, so too will be a visit to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures if Piano gets his way. His project, he told a group of journalists, “accende la fantasia,” which translates as ignites our imagination. That it does.