When the local news introduced the opening of Guillermo del Toro’s At Home With Monsters temporary exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art back in August, I became very excited for what I expect to be a fantastic, awe-inspiring experience for horror fans. Viewing the gallery displays of the filmmaker’s eccentric private art collection of various horror wares would definitely be memorable. Since the kids were still around for summer break and they, too, share in my love for Halloween and fantasy, I thought they would be equally interested in checking out the exhibition.
I was wrong.
My usual openminded kids were spooked out by the thought of even visiting LACMA after I showed them the museum’s website introduction about the exhibit. As the tone of LACMA’s interactive landing page for At Home With Monsters revealed a mysterious sense of unease for my tikes, they insisted that we wait until after the exhibit is over and then we can return to LACMA. I suppose I underestimated the fear factor of the exhibit and the maturity level of my small children. They are often game when it comes to viewing art as they frequently visit museums and art galleries with me at any given moment.
It would take another two-and-a-half months of patiently waiting for the perfect opportunity to visit LACMA sans kids, of course. Luckily, my husband was a huge fan of Guillermo del Toro’s impressive filmmaking career, so we decided to make an event out of our visit to LACMA one Saturday afternoon as part of our 15 year wedding anniversary celebration.
The exhibit proved to be a very popular one as there was a very long line of visitors forming. Maybe it was because Halloween was a little over a week away, or that it was a warm Sunday afternoon that people decided to congregate at LACMA. Maybe Guillermo del Toro had a fanbase larger than what I could ever imagine. Luckily, the line moved quickly, and large groups of 20 museum visitors at a time were let in. Even with timed entry tickets, we patiently waited a good 15 minutes before finally entering LACMA’s Art of the Americas Building, the gallery where the At Home With Monsters exhibit is temporarily housed.
We were immediately greeted with this eerie, larger-than-life personification of the Angel of Death, one of the characters from del Toro’s film Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
We enter the Main Gallery and were immediately inundated by various iterations of the fantastical Faun from the 2006 film, Pan’s Labyrinth.
This interesting display from the film, Pacific Rim, caught my eye:
It was then that I noticed Pale Man, the human-eating monster from Pan’s Labyrinth, and the one display I was looking forward to seeing in person. Very creepy, indeed.
My husband knows how much I love Bram Stoker’s Dracula so when he saw a cane from the set of the film, Dracula, he knew I just had to see it.
I soon became distracted by the wall reveal of the Thomas Kuebler’s Hans (Harry Earles)  display, which really creeped me out.
My husband and I soon realized that objects on display are a collaborative effort between the Museum, Guillermo del Toro and other private collectors of horror genre art, and that visitors should tour the gallery space based on themes presented to us: Innocence and Childhood; Magic, Occultism, Horror; Monsters; and Visions of Death and the Afterlife.
There was so much to take in from the various thematic libraries on display, including the impressive homages to Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.
Here’s more of a sampling of what we saw at LACMA.
I was personally impressed by the voyeuristic feel that the Frankenstein display series conveyed:
I also enjoyed viewing del Toro’s working artist Notebooks (the original sketches of his creative ideas were encased in glass boxes while digital scans of the original Notebook pages were on an interactive console display for visitors to leaf through).
Have you visited At Home With Monsters yet? What was your favorite object or artifact of horror? What did you think of Gustavo Santaolalla’s mood-enhancing music and soundscape that filled the exhibition space during your visit?
Guillermo del Toro’s At Home With Monsters
August 1, 2016 through November 27, 2016
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Exhibit Fee: $25 (Free for LACMA Members)
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