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Programs & Exhibitions

Current Exhibitions

 

September 26–December 19, 2014; Doheny Library Ground Floor
George Hurrell and the Golden Age of Hollywood Glamour
Hollywood’s “Golden Age” lasted from 1920 through 1950. It was a time when the public flocked to movie palaces to see cinematic idols. One photographer in particular shaped the notion of celebrity, using sultry pictures to transform Hollywood stars into gods and goddesses. When the public responded to these images, the studios grasped the value of his work, and used it to promote their movies. George Hurrell came to Southern California in 1925, expecting to be a landscape painter, but his photographic work soon gained the attention of Hollywood stars. In a few years he was MGM’s head portrait photographer. Over the next decade, he created a type of portraiture in which the subject was idealized through the use of stylized poses, dramatic contrast, and highly skilled retouching. The boldness and sensuality of his images was a striking departure from the genteel work of his contemporaries. Hurrell’s style was mimicked but never equaled, and his work is now recognized as fine-art photography.


October 31, 2014–May 31, 2015; Doheny Library Treasure Room
What Makes a Monster?
What do nine-headed water serpents, microscopic pathogens, criminals, freak-show artists, and so many diverse communities of the other have in common? In various historical settings and contexts, they all have carried the label “monstrous,” sometimes as a result of unproven assumptions, a lack of scientific awareness, or purposeful demonization by figures of authority. What Makes A Monster?, held simultaneously in five library locations across the two USC campuses, examines preconceived notions about such monsters, and why they elicit responses across the emotional and physical, political and cultural spectrums.

The exhibition features rare items from the USC Libraries Special Collections, such as Swiss natural scientist Ulisse Aldrovandi’s 1642 Monstrorum Historia and Reginald Scot’s 1584 The Discoverie of Witchcraft, alongside recently produced works such as a deck of serial killer “trading cards” and a Mayan altar with accompanying hexes “for the wandering male.”

The multipart exhibition is centered in USC’s Doheny Memorial Library Treasure Room, with satellite displays on topically relevant themes in the USC Helen Topping Architecture & Fine Arts Library, Norris Medical Library, Science and Engineering Library, and the VKC Library for International and Public Affairs. Further information is available here.


Archive of Past Exhibitions