|Preliminary poster design by Neil Holland
using a 1940s concept drawing for Mighty Joe Young
This fall, I am curating an exhibition featuring a unique album commemorating the production of the 1949 Hollywood fantasy movie Mighty Joe Young. The brainchild of the creative team responsible for King Kong(1933), Mighty Joe Young earned an Academy Award for Special Effects.
|Ray Harryhausen and Mighty Joe Young|
The album has never been on public display before, and little is known about its origins or provenance. Along with hundreds of books and journals, it was bequeathed to Aberystwyth University by the film historian Raymond Durgnat (1939–2002).
As a curator, I am keen to recover and display objects of visual culture that encourage us to explore connections between the arts as well as the creative industries and academic disciplines devoted to them. The Mighty Joe Young album tells stories of ingenuity and collaboration, of artistic influences and commercial enterprise. The film, meanwhile, is a story of friendship, a friendship that triumphs over greed and the exploitation of innocence.
|Gustave Doré, Leviathan
for an 1866 edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost
The work of Ray Harryhausen has long attracted enthusiasts of fantasy and science fiction. Now, there is renewed interest in his artistry. Leading up to the centenary of Harryhausen’s birth, major institutions, including Tate Britain in London, have been staging exhibitions of his drawings and sculptures.
Our album has attracted the attention of the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation, who will be giving a presentation in the School of Art galleries on 22 November. We will also hold animation workshops during the run of the exhibition, and the videos created as part of those workshops will be shown in our galleries.
Recapturing ‘Mighty Joe Young’: The Movie! The Memory!! The Make-Believe!!! is on display at the School of Art from 20 November 2017 to 2 February 2018.