“It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection” at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto


The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, is hosting  Canadian-exclusive presentation of “It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection.” The exhibition is on view through January 5, 2020.

Famous guitarist Kirk Hammett, of the heavy metal band Metallica, has created one of the world’s most extraordinary collections of classic horror and sci-fi movie posters. “It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection” explores Hammett’s significant collection and examines the connection between artistry, emotion, and popular culture through a selection of works from the 20th century cinema. 

“Horror and sci-fi are among the most versatile, dynamic and enduring genres of cinema,” says Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO. “Acting as a mirror for societal fears, these films and the accompanying artwork reflect the collective cultural anxieties of the time. This evocative exhibition deepens our understanding of the evolution of cinema art and its relationship to culture.”

“It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Art Collection” brings together more than 100 posters from 20th century cinema. It features rare cinema posters from the 1920s to 1980s — including the only surviving copy of the original “1931 Frankenstein” poster, as well as one-of-a-kind electric guitars from Kirk Hammett’s personal collection and authentic movie costumes with life-size mannequins.

“Like the films they promote, these pieces are important metaphors for the issues of the times in which they were created,” says Arlene Gehmacher, ROM Curator of Canadian Paintings, Prints & Drawings. “Some of the posters are riveting. They can provoke, excite, and enthrall, reflecting but also shaping the visible and psychological fears of an individual, community, or nation.”

Kirk Hammett has dedicated the last three decades of is career to creating one of the world’s most important cinema-art collections. He credits this as a primary source of inspiration for his own musical creativity.

“I got into the business of collecting horror, which is really not a business at all, a long time ago. I think it’s become my midnight calling or maybe my lifetime obsession. I guess some would say obsession, some may say occupation and others would say it’s just plain insanity,” says Kirk Hammett. “It is very exciting for me to have Toronto be the second stop on our quest to bring my collection to everyone who is genuinely interested in these horror movie posters, props, and memorabilia. Canada is a great country, Toronto is an amazing city, and I’m honored to be able to start crossing borders with my collection at the Royal Ontario Museum.”

The exhibition, divided into different themes, traces how horror and sci-fi cinema responded to a number of broad cultural events and developments in different decades. Each section of the exhibition uses poster art to convey underlying anxieties of particular eras. The show, through its posters, highlights the fear of mortality around the Great Depression of the 1930s; scientific progress in the mid-20th century; the fear of invasion and espionage post-1945; and the rise of feminism in the 1960s.

The exhibition is on view through January 5, 2020, at Royal Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6, Canada.

For details, visit https://www.rom.on.ca/en

Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek of the exhibition works.

Music Therapy