GOTTA DANCE! Exhibit at Jacob's Pillow Celebrates Vintage Movie Poster Art, Summer 2014
The art of the dance movie poster is celebrated at Jacob's Pillow this summer with GOTTA DANCE!, an extraordinary exhibit of vintage posters from throughout the world. The posters, which feature stars such as Gene Kelly, Rita Hayworth, Cyd Charisse, Eleanor Powell, and Astaire & Rogers, were selected from the personal collection of one of the genre's foremost experts, award-winning campaign designer and producer Mike Kaplan. GOTTA DANCE! includes a special six-poster salute to Marge and Gower Champion on the occasion of Marge Champion's 95th birthday.
A lavishly illustrated limited edition art book has been published to coincide with the exhibition, which is free and open to the public throughout the summer at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, now through August 24. Kaplan will also participate in a free PillowTalk on June 27, 5pm to 6pm.
Mike Kaplan comments, "The ideal poster is a microcosm of the movie itself, capturing with inventiveness the feeling one has after leaving the cinema. It should be both a work of art and a souvenir of one's movie experience." While the motion picture is recognized as the most influential art form of the 20th century, the movie poster has seldom received the recognition it deserves. GOTTA DANCE! focuses on the film poster as a unique art form and celebrates the ways in which dance and dancing have been used as a dominant promotional image for both musical and non-musical films.
Director of Preservation Norton Owen collaborated with Kaplan to create this exhibition as a special tribute to Marge Champion, who donated the exhibition's venue to Jacob's Pillow more than 20 years ago. Blake's Barn was moved to the Pillow from Champion's property in Stockbridge as a memorial to her son, Blake, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1987. "Hosting Mike Kaplan's eye-popping collection in Marge's milestone year seemed like the perfect way to salute her generosity to the Pillow and her ongoing presence in our lives."
Design aesthetics and historic significance are the standards of the collection, which is comprised of sixty distinct pieces of varying size and rarity. Signature pieces include an original French poster for An American in Paris (1951), previously owned by Gene Kelly; a young Jimmy Stewart with Eleanor Powell in Born to Dance (1936); an iconic image of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in elegant evening attire for Carefree (1938); Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in caricaturist Al Hirschfeld's design for Strike Up the Band (1940); and the only poster to spotlight The Nicholas Brothers, executing a dazzling, acrobatic tap routine on the Italian single folio for The Great American Broadcast (1941). Many original interpretations of American films come from overseas; examples from Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden will be on display alongside their American cousins.
Non-musical discoveries range from ballerina Greta Garbo in the German Grand Hotel (1932) and Lillian Gish peering at the dancing couples in La Bohème (1926) to Laurel and Hardy in Jitterbugs (1943) and the sensual teaming of George Raft and Carole Lombard in the exquisite Swedish Bolero (1934). Dynamic graphics highlight many of the screen's most talented star dancers and performers: from Shirley Temple to Marilyn Monroe and James Cagney to Elvis Presley. Other notable performers include Katherine Dunham, Margot Fonteyn, Lena Horne, Audrey Hepburn, Carmen Miranda, Rudolf Nureyev, and Frank Sinatra.