Guillermo del Toro is known as one of the most imaginative filmmakers working today. As the director of some of this generation’s most inventive horror and monster genre films, from Hellboy (2004), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Pacific Rim (2013), and Crimson Peak (2015), it should come as no surprise that del Toro loves monsters- and he has a creepy art collection to match. His treasured collection has been a work in progress since he was a child in Guadalajara, Mexico, and given its significant impact on del Toro’s work and process, is now being brought to the public, courtesy of LACMA.
del Toro’s collection, housed in the suburbs of Los Angeles, is his happy place. He calls it the “The Bleak House”, a “man-cave” peppered with memorablia, curiosities, concept art by some of his favorite artists, from Winsor McCay’s sketches of Gertie the Dinosaur to Eyvind Earle’s stylish backgrounds for Sleeping Beauty, to works by contemporary artists like Zdzislaw Beksinksi, Michael Hussar, Chet Zar, Travis Louie, James Bonner, Matthew Levin, and Brian Smith, many of them featured in the pages of Hi-Fructose.
LACMA’s exhibition “Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters” is not only a showcase of del Toro’s eclectic collection, it also highlights the director’s creativity, who considers the film medium much like the art that is hanging on his walls: “I think that film is a visual & audio medium and it should be judged in the same way that you judge a painting or a visual art in terms of strokes, colors and shapes.” His exhibit will be organized thematically to include visions of death and the afterlife, magic, occultism, horror, monsters, representation of innocence and redemption.
Artwork by HF Vol. 32 cover artist Travis Louie. Private collection of Guillermo del Toro.
del Toro’s description of his Bleak House gives us some idea of what we can expect: “Frankenstein greets me when I enter and then you turn the corner and Hans the dwarf from Freaks is waiting for me there with a razor blade,” he says. “This morning I woke up in the Dickens room, which is a room that is dedicated to Dickens, and all the furniture is Dickensian and Victorian, and it’s surrounded by books from the Victorian era… And I exited through the Nosferatu corridor by pushing the secret painting on the wall into my kitchen.”
“Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters” will be on view at the LACMA in Los Angeles from July 31st to November 27th, 2016, before traveling to Minneapolis and Toronto.