Few film studios have mastered the art of storytelling quite like Pixar has. From the mod-tinged world of The Incredibles to the imaginative portrait of the human psyche in its most recent effort Inside Out, the iconic animation studio has won over adults and children alike with its clever and evocative approach.
Pixar’s inner workings are now the subject of an interactive retrospective just opened at the Cooper Hewitt in New York. Staged within the museum’s innovative Process Lab, a room that once house Andrew Carnegie's office, the show features original artwork, rarely seen sketches and storyboards, paintings and even sculptures from its catalogue of recognizable films.
'At Pixar, the visual design process and the story development process work hand in hand from the very earliest stages,' said John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar Animation Studios. To wit, the exhibition has been built around the studio’s three key principles: story, believability and appeal. Amongst the material on display are architectural research made during the design of the focal house in Up, models for the cowboy doll Woody in Toy Story and detailed drawings showcasing how the robots in Wall-E became utterly believable.
The Process Lab’s interactive touchscreen table also enables visitors to delve deeper into the 450 pieces of Pixar artwork made available, while learning more about related objects at the museum as well. With a screening of Pixar’s first short film, Luxo Jr (1986), a series of interactive workshops lead by Pixar staff and a conversation with Lasseter being held on 12 November also on offer, visitors might just to decode the secrets of the studio’s success.