Academy Museum’s ‘Regeneration’ Exhibit to Cover 73 Years of Black Cinema

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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

The Academy Museum of Motion Picture’s “Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971” exhibit will consist of seven galleries exploring Black filmmakers from Oscar Micheaux to Melvin Van Peebles, the Academy Museum announced on Wednesday.

The Museum shared details of the exhibit, which will open on Aug. 21, 2022 and run through April 9, 2023 in the Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Gallery. It is the second major temporary exhibit at the Academy Museum, after the current installation devoted to the work of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki.

In a press release, the Academy Museum described the exhibition this way:

“The exhibition explores the achievements and challenges of both independent production and the studio system, from cinema’s infancy in the 1890s through the height of the civil rights movement. Regeneration features rarely seen excerpts of films restored by the Academy Film Archive, as well as other narrative films and documentaries; newsreels and home movies; photographs; scripts; drawings; costumes; equipment; posters; and historical materials, such as entrance tickets, note cards, and telegrams; along with augmented reality experiences (AR) designed specifically for the exhibition.”

The seven galleries will begin with clips from the 1898 “Something Good – Negro Kiss,” one of the earliest films showing on-screen affection from Black actors. It will then move to a study of “race films” from 1916 through the 1940s, and a look at segregated movie theaters; a gallery devoted to musicals, particularly ones with all-Black casts; a “Stars and Icons” gallery saluting Black performers from the 1920s through the 1950s; a section devoted to post World War II “freedom movements”; and one exploring post-1960s Black filmmakers Madeline Anderson, Robert L. Goodwin, William Greaves, Gordon Parks and Melvin Van Peebles.

The exhibition was curated by Doris Berger and Rhea Combs in collaboration with directors Charles Burnett and Ava DuVernay, among others.

Details from photo at top: Film still from William Selig’s “Something Good – Negro Kiss” (1898), with Saint Suttle and Gertie Brown. Courtesy of USC HMH Foundation Moving Image Archive; The Nicholas Brothers in a scene from “Stormy Weather” (1943), from left, Fayard Nicholas and Harold Nicholas. Photographic print, gelatin silver. Courtesy Margaret Herrick Library, © Twentieth Century Fox; Portrait of Josephine Baker. Photo by adoc–photos/Corbis via Getty Images; “Carmen Jones” costume design (Carmen, Change #1), Costume design: Mary Ann Nyberg, c. 1954, courtesy Cinémathèque Française; Photo of Melvin Van Peebles, 1971. Photo by Pix/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images.

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