Del Toro’s World is Alive in New Museum Exhibit

Timothy RawlesHorror Art, News1 Comment

If you happen to live in Minneapolis and love Guillermo Del Toro, you should probably get to the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA).

For those who don’t live in that state you have until May 28 2017, to find any means necessary to see this new awe-inspiring horror exhibit.

Starting on Sunday March 5, “Guillmero Del Toro: At Home With Monsters” brings the prolific director’s personal collection of horror memorabilia to the art space that has been created to look like his Los Angeles home he calls “Bleak House.”

Several rooms take visitors on a journey through his inspirations and realizations of the gothic horror artform.

With paintings, original manuscripts and human-size monsters created by special effects genius Ray Harryhausen, this exclusive exhibit only showcases one-fifth of De Toro’s extensive personal collection.

Arguably the greatest horror movie director of modern times, the Spanish native has immersed film goers into the world of gothic horror. From “The Devil’s Backbone,” “Pan’s Labyrinth” and the recent “Crimson Peak,” Del Toro encapsulates the romantic part of the genre with striking imagery and out of the ordinary characters and monsters.

“I want to see the show to explore the continuity between haunting classic horror films like ‘Frankenstein’ that have inspired him, and how this fantastic filmmaker transforms those images into his own beautiful, uncanny work,” said Juli Kroll, an associate professor of world cinema, Latin American culture and Spanish at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

Gabriel Ritter, curator of contemporary art said the idea to transform the museum into the Del Toro universe was inspired by the institute’s director, Kaywin Feldman, after reading an article about him in The New Yorker.


Ritter says the exhibit tracks the timeline from idea to fruition. And it all begins once you enter, “so cinematic and strange it looks like a portal, with inlaid monstrous eyes that follow and track you as you enter the exhibition. It scares the bejesus out of you.”

Sectioned by themes, the tour begins with images of birth and innocence before it progresses through displays of the occult and witchcraft. Monsters make up the mid portion of the exhibit and concludes with death and the afterlife.

Walls are crimson colored and incorporate some Haunted Mansion-type special effects with rainfall and thunder slapping outside prop windows.

Del Toro’s films also plays through video monitors and MIA will screen some of his most notable works throughout the length of the show.


The March 5 opening has already sold out which is a bit strange for this type of exhibit admits Ritter, but it’s clear that Del Toro is well-respected by fans and contemporaries alike.

Despite mentors telling him early in his career to not become a film maker known for being weird, Del Toro says that’s exactly what he wanted to do.

“I belong completely to the creatures I create,” said Del Toro. “There’s a kinship that is entirely genuine and spiritual to me. It’s beyond affection. There is a link between those creations and me. I love making them. I am very moved by the fantastic.”

He says the white marble sculpture “The Ecstasy of St. Teresa,” may represent his thought processes when it comes to his imagination. That sculpture shows a divine power dropped from the heavens and the pleasure felt by a mortal experiencing such an event.

“I really feel like that’s me contemplating a monster,” he said. “I really am ecstatic at seeing a creature. I get enraptured by these creatures in a way that I’m sure has a perfectly plausible psychological reason. It’s fascinating, the cohabitation of the grotesque and the sublime. Throughout the history of art, we’ve had to do portraiture of angels alongside portraits of demons and monsters. They are a theater of the mind.”


This comraderies and attachments to his creations are more than just static plotlines, they are burgeoning connections that become as real as you or me.

“I am a horror director in terms of kinship with the monsters,” Del Toro said. “But I’m not interested in hating them and fearing them. I believe in loving them. In most movies, your kinship is the humans and the monsters are the scary creatures. In my movies, the scary things are the humans.”


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