DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition” opened last month at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). Clearly inspired by “Pixar: 20 Years of Animation,” which was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York back in 2005, the DreamWorks show includes over 400 items, and covers the studio’s twenty-year history right up to the present—there are displays about Mr. Peabody & Sherman and How to Train Your Dragon 2, which will be released next month. It is the largest exhibition in the twelve-year history of the ACMI.

How to Train Your Dragon concept art by Nico Marlet.

The show, organized by the ACMI and DreamWorks Animation, came about when Bill Damaschke, DreamWorks’ chief creative officer, visited the ACMI in 2010. Discussions followed and an exhibition took shape. In addition to standard gallery fare, the show includes installations such as a filmed recreation of a story pitch by writer/director Conrad Vernon (Shrek 2, Monsters vs. Aliens) and “Dragon Flight: A Dragon’s-Eye View of Berk,” which is described as an “exhilarating panoramic dragon ride on the back of Toothless, as the Isle of Berk builds around them.”

Conrad Vernon pitches the Gingerbread Man sequence from Shrek. Photo: Andrew Morley

In the Brisbane Times, critic Robert Nelson was generally positive about the show, though he lamented the lost opportunity for a “big curatorial statement.” Said Nelson, “The one pity is that the show seems to have been handed over to DreamWorks Animation without an independent curatorial synthesis.” This is a common pitfall when working with a company on its own works, one that the Pixar retrospective largely avoided.

“DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition” will be on display at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image through October 5. Photos from the exhibit can be seen here. The exhibit is scheduled to travel to other cities after its Melbourne stint.

Stephen Persing

Stephen Persing

STEPHEN PERSING is a writer, art critic and blogger and (platonic) cartoon lover based in Connecticut. His writing has appeared in Art in America and the Hartford Courant, as well as online at McSweeney’s and Big Red & Shiny. His art blog and humor blog are updated more or less regularly. He was part of the team that executed Sol LeWitt’s "Wall Drawing #1131, Whirls and Twirls," at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. For extreme thrills he has been known to watch Van Beuren cartoons and view Conceptual art in the same day.

More in Events:

Latest News from Cartoon Brew