The Anchorage Museum Presents Andy Warhol SuperTrash Exhibition

The Anchorage Museum presents The Andy Warhol Museum’s SuperTrash exhibition features more than 200 pulp film posters from the 1930s to the 1980s. On view through Jan. 8, 2012.

Although there are a handful of posters for modern classics such as Dirty Harry and Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita, the bulk are from cult flicks like Blade Runner and gruesome, sensational B movies in the vein of The Vixens of Kung-Fu, Scream Blacula Scream, and The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant.

You decide: Is it art? Is it trash? Or is it something in between?

There’s an undeniable argument these posters are merely advertisements pandering to the lowest common denominator. Their original purpose was to sell movie tickets. Their subjects are almost exclusively scantily clad women, gory creatures of the night, and blood. Lots of blood.

Using another lens, this exhibition can be seen as a retrospective for a dying art: Hand-painted movie posters. The people who created these posters — trained artists such as John Alvin and Drew Struzan — are royalty among cinephiles and film memorabilia collectors.

“Most of what passes for movie poster art these days are just Photoshopped pictures of actors striking saucy poses and staring at us like a troop of lobotomy victims,” director Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption) once told the L.A. Times. “(Drew Struzan’s) work speaks to me on a much deeper level. The images he renders become part of that film’s iconography and history, just as important in some respects as the film itself, and sometimes better.”

Besides posters, this exhibition also offers video screens showing clips and trailers for films such as The Maltese Falcon, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, and Harum Scarum.

SuperTrash, on loan from The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, was curated by Jacques Boyreau, trash scholar, collector and author of Trash: The Graphic Genius of Xploitation Movie Posters; and Greg Pierce, assistant curator of film and video at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. This exhibition has been organized by The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. Learn more at www.anchoragemuseum.org.

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