Bonnie Lautenberg Combines Classic Films & Iconic Paintings at Boca Raton Museum

1952 - Singin’ in the Rain / Yayoi Kusama, "The Sea" by Bonnie Lautenberg
1952 – Singin’ in the Rain / Yayoi Kusama, “The Sea” by Bonnie Lautenberg
Courtesy Boca Raton Museum of Art

Bonnie Lautenberg combines the work of filmmakers and painters for an exceptional exhibit, Art Meets Hollywood, at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. Lautenberg’s show of digital collages is on display from now until August 21 at this South Florida location.

The esteemed creative Lautenberg, brings together 28 side-by-side scenes from notable films and famous paintings that she feels are connected in some way. Each of these unique collaborative juxtapositions features images from the same year starting with 1928 and continuing through 2020 — one visual being a scene from the 1963 film, Hud and Warhol’s Elvis painting from that same year.

“Lautenberg pulls together visuals she feels speak to each other, taking us along on her colorful trip to explore how these two art forms have amazing parallels and are beautifully paired,” says Boca Raton Museum of Art executive director, Irvin Lippman.

1975 - Jaws and "Untitled V" by Willem de Kooning - by Bonnie Lautenberg
1975 – Jaws and “Untitled V” by Willem de Kooning – by Bonnie LautenbergCourtesy Boca Raton Museum of Art

The Work on View

This major project has been in the works for five years. The exhibit includes wide array of these year-by-year combinations:

A scene from the 1975 movie Jaws in combination with Willem de Kooning’s 1975 painting of elaborate color and chaos that could be interpreted to depict an ocean with blood below the screaming characters in the film still above it.

Bonnie Lautenberg pairs "Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1" by Georgia O’Keeffe with a scene from the film Grand Hotel featuring Greta Garbo (both from 1932).
Bonnie Lautenberg pairs “Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1” by Georgia O’Keeffe with a scene from the film Grand Hotel featuring Greta Garbo (both from 1932).Courtesy Boca Raton Museum of Art

Lautenberg includes a scene from the more recent film Hidden Figures (2016) with a Mark Bradford painting titled “Tomorrow is Another Day” from that year. A scene from the film Grand Hotel (1932) sits below the painting “Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1” by Georgia O’Keeffe.

A scene from Greta Garbo’s 1928 film The Mysterious Lady is placed with the painting “The Lovers” from iconic surrealist artist Rene Magritte; a scene from Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film Pulp Fiction is combined with the painting “Globe Glob” by Kenny Scharf; and the iconic image of Gene Kelly on the lamppost from his 1952 classic Singin’ in the Rain is next to “The Sea” by Yayoi Kusama; among many other thought-provoking pairings.

1940 – The Philadelphia Story / Stuart Davis, "Hot Still-Scape for Six Colors - 7th Avenue Style" - by Bonnie Lautenberg
1940 – The Philadelphia Story / Stuart Davis, “Hot Still-Scape for Six Colors – 7th Avenue Style” – by Bonnie LautenbergCourtesy Boca Raton Museum of Art

The artist also brings in more personal touches, for example the Stuart Davis painting “Hot Still-Scape for Six Colors- 7th Avenue Style” with a scene from The Philadelphia Story (1940) because she had grown up around this painting, which her father owned, in her childhood home.

When juxtaposing the 1999 American Beauty scene and James Turrell’s “The Light Inside” artwork, Lautenberg struggled because she wanted to include the painting, but she had a hard time finding a scene to match it. The changing colors in the classic film scene caught her eye when the reds appeared to match perfectly, resulting in the digital piecing together of the two.

1999 film American Beauty with "The Light Inside" by James Turrell - by Bonnie Lautenberg
1999 film American Beauty with “The Light Inside” by James Turrell – by Bonnie LautenbergCourtesy Boca Raton Museum of Art

“The brilliance of these juxtapositions is how she illuminates the psychological connections between each film scene and artwork,” Lippman says.

In her time researching for this exhibit, Lautenberg came to realize that this was not an isolated idea, but rather a reality for many filmmakers and artists. One example was artist Lucio Fontana’s motivation in creating one of his large red cut canvases, claiming that he was primarily inspired by the scene from Antonioni’s 1964 film Red Desert, which, of course, she paired with the painting.

1965 – Red Desert / Lucio Fontana by Bonnie Lautenberg
1965 – Red Desert / Lucio Fontana by Bonnie LautenbergCourtesy Boca Raton Museum of Art

“This solidified my belief,” Lautenberg says. “Throughout art history, artists have always been influenced by some force going on in the world around them.”

The Boca Raton Museum of Art, Art Meets Hollywood show reached even further than the creator’s connections. Patricia Ward Kelly, widow of the late Gene Kelly and Creative Director of The Gene Kelly Legacy Project was touched by the insertion of her husband’s work into the exhibit. Lautenberg’s combination of Kelly’s scene of Singin’ in the Rain, where he is extended from a light post, umbrella in hand in the pouring rain, alongside Kusama’s “The Sea” shows an obvious link in the brick of the scene and the paint patterns, as well as the color and the overall feeling in both sides.

Patricia Ward Kelly came out to support the opening of the exhibit, expressing her love for the unique idea. Singin’ in the Rain received even more recognition this year, as a 4K Ultra HD version was released in honor of its 70th anniversary.

Bonnie Lautenberg
Bonnie LautenbergCourtesy Boca Raton Museum of Art

About Bonnie Lautenberg

Lautenberg’s work has varied in material over her career, sometimes focusing on photography or writing along with more traditional fine art media. Her creativity has been showcased beside Warhol, Lichtenstein, Longo, Kass and Ed Ruscha. In addition to creating her work in this exhibit, the artist is co-producing a new Broadway musical about artist Andy Warhol. While still in development, this project has been approved by the Warhol Foundation and will come to life soon.

Her photography really took off in 1993 when capturing the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Accord and since then, she has stuck with the craft.

Some of Lautenberg’s own work can be found at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, The New York Historical Society, The Broad Museum of Los Angeles, The Newark Museum of Art, Portland Museum of Art and Stillman College Art Gallery in Alabama.

She also contributed the series of portraits titled How They Changed Our Lives: Senators As Working People to the Library of Congress permanent collection.

Lautenberg’s photograph of Barack Obama was featured at Howard Greenberg Gallery and other collections around the country as well as the West Wing of the White House, the Newark Museum and the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture.

In addition to her work as an artist, she is a part of the President’s Advisory Committee of the Arts (PACA) among many other esteemed roles.

Lippman is thrilled to showcase Lautenberg’s work for this two-month show at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, explaining, “Through her careful considerations, she brings to life each moment in time, the spark of creativity these pairings might have shared. She possesses a keen eye on the visual elements of humanity and the culture that arise.”

Learn more about Bonnie Lautenberg and Art Meets Hollywood at bocamuseum.org.

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