Smashingly trashy: John Waters retrospective at AMPAS Museum


John Waters: Pope of Trash, the first comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the eponymous artist’s contributions to cinema, opens at The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on September 17, 2023. The exhibition will trace the grotesque, daring, tacky, hilarious, and salacious elements that recur throughout Waters’s sixty-year career of filmmaking and reveal how his movies have redefined independent cinema.

A gallery exploring the filmmaker’s early life and works includes Hag in a Black Leather Jacket (1964)—Waters’s first film, an 8mm short made when he was 17 years old— as well as Roman Candles (1967), and Eat Your Makeup (1968). Individual feature films—Mondo Trasho (1969), Multiple Maniacs (1970), Pink Flamingos (1972), Female Trouble (1974), Desperate Living (1977), Polyester (1981), Hairspray (1988), Cry-Baby (1990), Serial Mom (1994), Pecker (1998), Cecil B. Demented (2000), and A Dirty Shame (2004)—are explored in depth through works such as handwritten scripts, costumes, props, posters, correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, and film clips.

Adjacent to John Waters: Pope of Trash, in the Warner Bros. Gallery, the Academy Museum presents Outside the Mainstream , an installation that pays homage to the work of other radically independent filmmakers—such as Kenneth Anger, Jack Smith, Andy Warhol, Gregg Araki, and Todd Haynes—who operate beyond the pale of mainstream cinema.

John Waters: Pope of Trash film programs | Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | now open

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