Academy to highlight set decoration

Apr 15, 2004 by Ian Evans

Film buffs who want to go behind the scenes — literally — can head on over to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences beginning May 14th to see a unique exhibition celebrating the art of contemporary set decoration. Like all exhibitions at the Academy, The Secret Life of Sets: Set Decorators at Work will be free and open to the public. The exhibition will continue on view through August 15.

Eight distinct areas in the Fourth Floor Gallery will contain the set dressing and prop items created for their respective films. These interactive environments also will include video clips from the films and interview footage with the set decorators. Titles and set decorators represented here will be The Cat in the Hat (Anne Kuljian), Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (Lauri Gaffin), Cheaper by the Dozen (K.C. Fox), Down with Love (Don Diers), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Stephanie McMillan), The Haunted Mansion (Rosemary Brandenburg), Spiderman 2 (Jay Hart) and Van Helsing (Cindy Carr).

Also in the Fourth Floor Gallery will be a photographic tour of the profession of set decorator shot by Ken Haber, a three-dimensional decorator’s work space and an area dedicated to the numerous craftspeople with whom set decorators regularly collaborate.

The Grand Lobby Gallery will feature two-dimensional production materials, such as set photographs, production drawings and other process materials, for a dozen recent titles. Showcased here will be work related to Anchorman (Jan Pascale), Chicago (Gordon Sim), Hide and Seek (Beth Kushnick), The Italian Job (Denise Pizzini), Northfork (Erin Smith), Pluto Nash (Brana Rosenfeld), Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement (Peg Cummings), Thirteen (Dorit Oberman), Unchain My Heart (Maria Nay), Vanilla Sky (Cloudia Rebar), Who’s Your Daddy (Inger Christiansen) and Wooly Boys (Robin Peyton). In addition, a history pavilion, featuring photographs and a specially created short film, will showcase many landmark achievements in production design and set decoration.

The Secret Life of Sets has been organized in association with the Set Decorators’ Society of America. The exhibition is presented with the generous support of Architectural Digest.

Viewing hours for The Secret Life of Sets: Set Decorators at Work are Tuesdays through Fridays 10 a.m. To 5 p.m. And weekends, noon to 6 p.m. Please note the Academy will be closed May 29 – 31 in observance of Memorial Day and July 3 – 5 in observance of Independence Day. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call 310-247-3600.