The 105-year-old ROM is mid Toronto’s natural history museum – a quiet place to take the kids for an afternoon of discovering dinosaur bones and exploring the infamous indoor bat cave. However – Kirk Hammett’sIT’S ALIVE exhibit breathes new light, and life, into the existing permanent collection of the touted museum.
“It’s the perfect place for my collection!” Exclaimed Kirk in an interview with NOW. “Being inside is more like being on the set of The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari. German expressionism all the way! Or H.P Lovecraft, in the Cthulhu mythos, the elder gods’ living areas were made out of angels and planes that were not meant for human existence”.
Current director and CEO Josh Basseches is hoping to “transform people’s lives by helping them understand the past, make sense of the present and shape a shared future” Which is a fantastic mission to stand behind, all the while curating and programming more modern and relevant exhibits like IT’S ALIVE. “If you look at the history of these posters, and the movies they represent, you can track what issues were causing anxiety and fear throughout the 20th century”. This collection, like Josh says is full of dread, terror and a historical timeline of not only horror but styles of lithography, typography and art. Oh …and some fucking insane guitars from Hammett’s personal collection, displayed beautifully.
Basseches found an ideal partner in Hammett, who famously paid over $1 million USD for Frank Frazzetta’s Conan The Conqueror book cover art, has been preaching the horror lithography gospel for years. Taking a once dead art and bestowing it cultural and commercial value and significance. No one would point to a Frankenstien poster and say, ‘That’s going to sell for $25,000. Lo and behold, that’s a cheap price now,” Hammett laughed while sitting down with NOW.
Combining high horror art and a classic natural art history museum is a match made in heaven, because it opens the sometimes-stuffy reputation of museums to a more pop culture savy clientele that museums strive for. Organized by the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. IT’S ALIVE is one of the world’s most extraordinary collections of classic horror and sci-fi movie posters. Exploring the connection between artistry, emotion and popular culture through a selection of incredible works from 20th century cinema.
IT’S ALIVE was curated in a beautiful way that acts as a time capsule and walk through yesteryear – to discover exactly what were the collective fears in past eras. Whether it was the breakthrough scientific discoveries, fear of nuclear war with the Soviet Union post-WWII or the rise of women’s rights in the 60s, Horror and sci-fi always shine a spotlight on society itself, it just replaces politicians and people with demons, ghosts and goblins.
Take a little peak at some of the incredible works of art below. And please visit this exhibition before it’s gone January 5th, 2020 at the Royal Ontario Museum.