‘Walkers: Hollywood Afterlives in Art and Artifact’ Revives Iconic Celluloid Images for the Digital Age

“If the 20th century was the century of the moving image, and the 21st century is the century of the digital image, what happens to all those celluloid signs in a virtual world?” That’s the question curator and scholar Robert M. Rubin is asking visitors of a new exhibit at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image.

Walkers: Hollywood Afterlives in Art and Artifact, which runs through April 10, presents nearly 100 works by 46 artists who appropriate and redefine the past century’s most iconic films in drawings, photographs, video, and more — like artist Yasumasa Morimura, who imagines himself as Catherine Deneuve in Luis Buñuel’s 1967 film Belle de jour.

These works are exhibited with a selection of rare film ephemera, which are presented as works of art in their own right. Given the passage of time, the show questions what these filmic objects have come to represent in the public imagination or within art history — such as the costume designs for Rosemary’s Baby and the complete original key book stills from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 thriller The 39 Steps. The exhibition title Walkers references zombies (those depicted in the TV series The Walking Dead), visualizing the afterlife of Hollywood in our current landscape.

A screening series accompanies the exhibit, which will feature introductions by artists in the show, like Tom Sachs (who created a “Godfather viewing station,” commenting on the way we view movies on digital devices — much to David Lynch’s dismay) and others, including Guy Maddin, whose oeuvre is a rabbit-hole of cinephilia. See a preview of Walkers: Hollywood Afterlives in Art and Artifact in our gallery, with commentary from the Museum of the Moving Image.