“Jaws” on display at the new Academy Museum (opening this month)

Academy Museum

  • By Cynthia Lum

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, due to open in April 2021 has acquired and installed the largest object in it’s collection, the only existing shark prop model made from the original mould used for the 1975 Steven Spielberg thriller Jaws.

The 25 foot model of a great white, that is affectionately referred to as “Bruce the Shark”, was the fourth and final cast made from the original mould, and is the only one still in existence.  It was created in 1975 as a photo prop for visitors at Universal Studios Hollywood, where it remained on view until 1990, and later wound up in a junkyard in Sun Valley California. I was authenticated there by a special effects crew member who worked on the original Jaws and in 2016 it was donated to the museum by Nathan Adlen, the junkyard’s owner.  “Bruce caught the eye of my father, Sam Adlen, at first glance back in 1990, and for many years he’s been like a member of the family,” said Nathan Adlen in a statement after donating the shark in 2016.

Museum workers had to remove multiple panels from the building’s glass wall to get the great white shark into the building, where it now hangs suspended 30 feet above the museum’s third floor, visible to both museum-goers as well as pedestrians on Fairfax Avenue.

For more details, click here.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art is now open


  • By Cynthia Lum

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) is pleased to announce the grand re-opening of its renewed and expanded galleries following a six-year, $50 million renovation.

Marking the Museum’s 80th anniversary this year, the renovation of SBMA’s original 1912 building improves SBMA’s exhibition space, making it possible to show more of the 27,000 object permanent collection. “We are thrilled once again to open our historic main entrance on State Street and welcome the community into a re-envisioned SBMA,” said Larry J. Feinberg, SBMA Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Director and CEO. 

The transformation of the original 1912 structure highlights the restoration of original architectural features, including the rhythmic arches lining SBMA’s historic Ludington Court . This entry gallery contains limestone throughout, as does Thayer Gallery and the brand new Candace Dauphinot Grand Staircase, while other new galleries are appointed with rich oak flooring. Visitors will enter the State Street front doors to discover a brand-new installation conceived by SBMA Deputy Director and Chief Curator Eik Kahng, as a traditional salon-style hang with large-scale European and American paintings dating from the 17th century to the early 20th century intermixed with African and Pre-Columbian antiquities, as well as the Museum’s iconic monumental Roman marbles in Ludington Court. The Lansdowne Hermes, a dramatic new focal point, will be presented on a six-foot tall pedestal, echoing the intended elevation of the Greek original after which it was modeled.

For more details, click here.

The Pink Floyd Exhibition

  • By Debbie Emery

“How I wish, how I wish you were here …” 

Now The Pink Floyd Exhibition is finally here — with “here” being the Vogue Multicultural Museum on Hollywood Boulevard. The interactive journey celebrates over five decades of the iconic U.K. rock band that literally turned the music world on its head. The group of then-five Londoners was the first British psychedelic band to find success in the ‘60s thanks to their daring extended compositions, sonic experimentation, and thought-provoking lyrics. Since then, Pink Floyd has lived up to the moniker of super group — having sold over 250 million records worldwide. 

Just like the group itself, The Pink Floyd Exhibition usesa combination of sound, video, text and images to draw guests into their world to experience what it feels like to be on stage with the band. Visitors will also be treated to unreleased gig recordings, original instruments, unknown scribbles and many personal mementos from the group’s members (Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Bob Klose). 

The exhibit is laid out in chronological order and includes trippy artwork by founding member Barrett, who left Pink Floyd in 1968 due to LSD-induced erratic behavior and died in 2006 from pancreatic cancer.

Click here to buy tickets for Aug. 3-Nov. 28.

The Last Sitting of Marilyn Monroe by Bert Stern on view now at Hotel Bel Air through Oct 31st. (Photo Bert Stern Trust))

The Last Sitting

  • By Cynthia Lum
  • Photo By Bert Stern

The lobby of the iconic Bel-Air Hotel will feature the work of the famous commercial and fashion photographer of the 60s, Bert Stern, who was the last to be granted a sitting by Marilyn Monroe.

Stern at the time was one of “The Photographers”.  The photo shoot was commissioned by Vogue magazine where Stern had a contract that gave him eight pages for the blond bombshell.

Marilyn Monroe arrived at the Hotel Bel-Air, alone, five hours late, ready to discard her inhibitions for the camera of the legendary photographer. The three-day session yielded 2,571 pictures yielded nothing short of magic: the 2,571 portraits revealed a Marilyn completely unreserved yet utterly glamorous in wispy scarves, pink silk, birdcage veils, and an iconic black velour gown by Christian Dior. Collectively called ‘The Last Sitting®’, the intimate portraits would be the public’s final glimpse into the life of the  Hollywood icon before her untimely death six weeks later.

The photos, from the session, fashion, portrait, and nude studies are of indescribable sensual and human vibrancy, of which no more than 20 were published at the time. And yet these few photographs ineradicably shaped our image of Marilyn Monroe. The monumental body of work by the master photographer and the  Hollywood  actress marks a climax in the history of star photography, and it is the world’s finest and largest tribute to Marilyn Monroe.

For more on Art at Hotel Bel-Air, click here.