Unanticipated construction challenges and the global pandemic have kept the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures behind schedule for years. But, barring any other unanticipated disasters, the doors to the unusual-looking facility at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax will finally open to the public on April 30, 2021. And museum officials are now previewing their inaugural temporary exhibition: the first North American museum retrospective dedicated to the acclaimed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki and his work.
Organized in collaboration with Japan’s fabled Studio Ghibli, which Miyazaki co-founded in 1985, Hayao Miyazaki will be on view in the museum’s Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Gallery. It will consist of more than 300 objects representing each of Miyazaki’s films, including 2001’s Oscar-winning Spirited Away, including original imageboards, character designs, storyboards, layouts, backgrounds, posters, and cels, including pieces on public view outside of Japan for the first time, as well as large-scale projections of film clips and immersive environments.
The exhibition, which is being curated by Academy Museum exhibitions curator Jessica Niebel and assistant curator J. Raúl Guzmán, will also offer screenings of Miyazaki’s films in both English and Japanese in the museum’s state-of-the-art theaters.
“Hayao Miyazaki has a singular ability to capture how we perceive life, with all its ambiguities and complexities,” Niebel said in a statement. “It has been a privilege to collaborate with Studio Ghibli in creating an exhibition that will appeal to the most avid Miyazaki fans and those not yet familiar with his work.”
Toshio Suzuki, a producer and Studio Ghibli co-founder, said, “It is an immense honor that Hayao Miyazaki is the inaugural temporary exhibition at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Miyazaki’s genius is his power of remembering what he sees. He opens the drawers in his head to pull out these visual memories to create characters, landscapes, and structures that are bursting with originality. It is our hope that visitors will be able to experience the entire scope of Hayao Miyazaki’s creative process through this exhibition. I am deeply grateful to all those who have been instrumental in presenting this exhibition.”
Added Academy Museum director Bill Kramer, “We could not be more excited to launch our new institution with the most comprehensive presentation of Hayao Miyazaki’s work to date. Honoring the masterful career of this international artist is a fitting way to open our doors, signifying the global scope of the Academy Museum.”
The exhibition is designed as a journey through seven different sections, each focusing on a different theme related to the work of the 79-year-old master, who was presented with an honorary Oscar in 2014. Visitors will also be able to enjoy a moment of quiet contemplation in the Sky View installation, which will reflect a frequent motif in Miyazaki’s films: the desire to slow down, reflect and dream.
Hayao Miyazaki will be accompanied by a 256-page catalogue, published by the Academy and DelMonico Books, that includes production materials from Miyazaki’s early television work through all 11 of his feature films and offers insight into his creative process and animation techniques. It includes a foreword by Suzuki; essays by Niebel, Pete Docter and Daniel Kothenschulte; and an illustrated filmography.