Curator of Film Posters Reveals Exhibit's Mission to Preserve and Display Cinematic Artistry

The Barrymore Film Center and Museum, located in Fort Lee, New Jersey, recently opened its doors to the public, honoring the town's historic role as the first hub of the American film industry. The museum's curator of exhibitions, Richard Koszarski, is devoted to showcasing Fort Lee's cinematic heritage through various exhibitions and collections.

The museum's inaugural exhibit focused on the acting dynasty of the Barrymore family, highlighting the careers of John, Ethel, and Lionel Barrymore, who were integral to Fort Lee's film history. The exhibit also showcased the lives of other film pioneers, such as Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, whose work in Fort Lee dates back to the early days of filmmaking.

The museum's most recent exhibit, "Coming Attractions: Classic Film Posters from the Konstantino Spanoudis iKon Collection," showcases iconic film posters dating from 1910 to 1981, drawn from Spanoudis' extensive collection. Spanoudis, a passionate collector, focused on posters that captured the essence of the film's graphic design rather than solely prioritizing the critical acclaim or historical significance of the films themselves.

When discussing the exhibit's focus on film posters and their functional and collectable nature, Koszarsis explains that film posters emerged at a time when poster collecting had lost popularity. Additionally, film posters were often regarded as anonymous hack work, contributing to their lack of interest to collectors. However, as the museum's exhibit highlights, film posters possess a rich graphic design history and a valuable place in the realm of advertising and visual communication.

The exhibit aims to showcase how film producers and distributors utilized posters as their primary advertising tool and explore the legacy of film posters as collectibles. "Coming Attractions" provides a comprehensive overview of poster design, illustrating the evolution of graphic elements, typography, and visual aesthetics in cinematic advertising. Through this exhibit, the Barrymore Film Center and Museum pays tribute to Fort Lee's enduring legacy in the development of the American film industry.

By shedding light on the artistic achievements of film posters, the museum presents a unique perspective on the history of motion pictures. In turn, the collection at the Barrymore Film Center and Museum is reshaping the understanding and appreciation of film posters as valuable artistic and cultural artifacts, deserving of recognition and preservation.