While born and raised in New York, Mr Stanley Kubrick spent much of his life in the UK, producing the bulk of his films here. It’s perhaps surprising then that the official exhibition on the visionary director – which was first set up in Frankfurt 15 years ago and has since toured the world, taking in cities as far-flung as Melbourne, LA, São Paulo and, most recently, Barcelona – has taken until now to arrive in his adoptive homeland. In truth, it is only down to serendipity that the show has even made it this far (or near, given that it offers a rare airing for artefacts drawn from Mr Kubrick’s own meticulously kept archive in London). Indeed, in what could itself be an opening scene from a movie, it all stems from a chance meeting at a train station.
“We’d been thinking about bringing it to London for a long time, but it really only took off when I bumped into Alan [Yentob, former BBC creative director and a friend of Mr Kubrick] at St Pancras,” Mr Deyan Sudjic, co-director of the Design Museum, which will be housing Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition until September. “He’d just been to see Jan Harlan, Kubrick’s brother-in-law, who’d worked on all of his films from A Clockwork Orange onwards. He just said, ‘You’ve got to do this show.’ And I said, ‘That’s a good idea.’
“The archive is pretty impressive,” says Mr Sudjic. “His documents, his scripts, his director’s chair. We’ve got the only Oscar he ever won. But we don’t want it to just be a show of posters and old costumes – we want to make it come alive.”