Strangelove's Weegee

Curated by: John O'Brian

Strangelove’s Weegee is an exhibition featuring photographs by the infamous press photographer Weegee taken on the set of the film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. The exhibition also includes publicity stills, posters, lobby cards and other material related to the film, and is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue that includes an essay by John O’Brian.

Legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick once thought about living in Vancouver, but unlike Howard Hughes never acted on the idea. Both men were obsessed with the subject of war, particularly with the threat of nuclear catastrophe. Kubrick brought a sense of humour to this subject, dark though it was. “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room,” protests President Merkin Muffley in Dr. Strangelove. Among the photographs taken by Weegee on the film set are fight scenes in the War Room, including the famous pie fight scene cut from the final version of the film. These photographs are in the exhibition.

Kubrick began shooting Dr. Strangelove in February 1963, just months after the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world to the brink of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD for short). He shot the film in black and white and hired Weegee as a special consultant, specifying that he take flash pictures on the set. The exhibition explores Weegee’s tabloid aesthetic and Kubrick’s interest in them. An audiotape of a hilarious conversation between the photographer and the main actor, Peter Sellers, reveals the photographer’s role extended to teaching Sellers an American/European accent.

Weegee aka Arthur Feelig (1899 –1968) was a New York press photographer best known for graphic images of violence and crime. He also produced photography books and films. His photographs are in major museum collections. In 2012 a major survey of his work, Murder Is My Business, was organized by the International Center of Photography in New York, who have loaned material for this exhibition.

Starting out as a photojournalist, Stanley Kubrick was one of the most significant and influential filmmakers of the twentieth century. He was a director, editor and cinematographer. His films include Lolita (1962) A Clockwork Orange (1971), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), and The Shining (1980), amongst others.

John O’Brian is a professor, writer and curator. He has taught art history at the University of British Columbia since 1987 and published more than a dozen books. His current research is on the engagement of photography with the nuclear era in North America and Japan. He is presently working on an exhibition for the Art Gallery of Ontario, Camera Atomica, which explores interconnections between the camera and nuclear events.

Gallery Press Release
Events

Saturday June 22, 1pm | Talk with John O'Brian, curator of Strangelove's Weegee

Screenings:

Wednesday, July 10, at 7pm | Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) by Stanley Kubrick
Empire Theatres Esplanade, 200 Esplanade Ave, North Vancouver

Wednesday, July 17 at 7:00pm | Weegee's New York (20 min.) and Yang Ban Xi, (90 min.) at Pacific Cinematheque, 1131 Howe Street

 

 

Strangelove's Weegee, exhibition publication
Strangelove's Weegee, exhibition publication
Weegee, [Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove on the set of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb], 1963 © Weegee/International Center of Photography
Weegee, [Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove on the set of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb], 1963 © Weegee/International Center of Photography
Weegee, [Stanley Kubrick directing Tracy Reed as Miss Scott on the set of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb], 1963, © Weegee/International Center of Photographyweegee_7505_1993-4
Weegee, [Stanley Kubrick directing Tracy Reed as Miss Scott on the set of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb], 1963, © Weegee/International Center of Photographyweegee_7505_1993-4
Weegee, [Stanley Kubrick directing his film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb], 1963, © Weegee/International Center of Photography
Weegee, [Stanley Kubrick directing his film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb], 1963, © Weegee/International Center of Photography
Weegee, [Stanley Kubrick making frame with his hands on the set of his film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb], 1963 © Weegee/International Center of Photography
Weegee, [Stanley Kubrick making frame with his hands on the set of his film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb], 1963 © Weegee/International Center of Photography
Unidentified Photographer, [Weegee and Peter Sellers after the famous pie scene on the set of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb], 1963, Courtesy International Center of Photography
Unidentified Photographer, [Weegee and Peter Sellers after the famous pie scene on the set of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb], 1963, Courtesy International Center of Photography
Strangelove's Weegee installation
Strangelove's Weegee installation
Installation view of Strangelove's Weegee
Installation view of Strangelove's Weegee
Installation view of Strangelove's Weegee
Installation view of Strangelove's Weegee
Installation view of Strangelove's Weegee
Installation view of Strangelove's Weegee
Strangelove's Weegee installation
Strangelove's Weegee installation
Strangelove's Weegee installation
Strangelove's Weegee installation
Installation view of Strangelove's Weegee
Installation view of Strangelove's Weegee

Strangelove's Weegee

The  2013 Presentation House Gallery exhibition Stranglove's Weegee featured photographs by the infamous press photographer Weegee taken on the set of the film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. The catalogue includes a transcription of a conversation between Weegee and Peter Sellers on the set of Dr. Strangelove. Introduction by Gallery Director Reid Shier, essay by curator John O’Brian. Publication coordinator: Jonah Gray.

Designed by Sacha Hurley, printed by Hemlock Printers.

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The Polygon Gallery continues the forty-year reputation of Presentation House Gallery in engaging the public with the most visionary artists of our time. A new waterfront landmark on Vancouver's North Shore, The Polygon offers a one-of-a-kind space to encounter contemporary visual art with a focus on photography.

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