Accidentally Wes Anderson

I visited the unusual exhibit “Accidentally Wes Anderson” at the Santa Monica Art Museum on the Promenade, on view until June 20.

Accidentally Wes Anderson
MLC Building. 1936. Sydney, Australia

The photographs on display were taken by people all over the world, after creators, Wally and Amanda Koval, started an Instagram account in 2017 soliciting contributions of images inspired by Wes Anderson’s unique aesthetic sensibility in movies like The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), The French Dispatch (2021), and others.

Asteroid City
Wes Anderson on set of ASTEROID CITY (c) Focus Features

As a film critic, I appreciate Wes Anderson’s work, and wrote an article about his latest movie, Asteroid City, for the Italian film monthly Best Movie.
As a photographer and world traveler, I loved the photographs and learnt fascinating stories about far away places, from the lengthy descriptions.

I admired the streamlined Art Deco design of the 1936 Mutual Life & Citizens Building in Sydney, Australia.

Accidentally Wes Anderson
Surakarta Hadiningrat Royal Palace. 1744. Central Java

Going back three centuries to 1744, see the guards at the doors of Surakarta Royal Palace in Central Java.

Accidentally Wes Anderson
Ishtar Gate. 575, Hillah, Babil, Iraq

Further back to 575, a replica of the Ishtar Gate to ancient Babylon was rebuilt in Iraq, while the reconstruction from archival materials excavated in 1914 is at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

Accidentally Wes Anderson
Gran Teatro Falla. 1905. Cadiz, Spain

Look at more doors to the 1906 Gran Teatro Falla in Cádiz, Andalusia, Spain, in the Neo-Mudéjar style.

Accidentally Wes Anderson
Gran Teatro de Manzanares. 1910. Spain

The façade of the 1911 Gran Teatro de Manzanares in Spain, rebuilt in 1995.

Accidentally Wes Anderson
Hotel Sacher. 1786. Vienna, Austria

The elegant dining room of the 1876 Sacher Hotel in Vienna, built by Eduard, son of Franz Sacher, who concocted the chocolate dessert called Sacher torte, a favorite of Italian director Nanni Moretti.

Accidentally Wes Anderson
Hotel Opera. 1890. Prague, Czech Republic

Hotel Opera, Prague, built in 1890 in Bohemian Neo-Renaissance style.

Accidentally Wes Anderson
Hotel Moskva. 1908. Belgrade, Serbia

Hotel Moscow, Belgrade, Serbia, built tin 1908 as Palace Rossiya.

Accidentally Wes Anderson
Hotel Belvedere. 1783. Furka Pass, Switzerland

Hotel Belvedere, 1783 in Switzerland was chosen for the book cover of Accidentally Wes Anderson.

Accidentally Wes Anderson
Amalienbad. 1926. Vienna, Austria

Amalienbad 1926, in Vienna, Austria, was named after Amalie Pölzer, the first woman elected to the municipal council of Vienna for the Social Democrats party, who advocated for public baths to be built to encourage personal hygiene and physical fitness at a time when few Viennese residents had their own bathrooms.

Accidentally Wes Anderson
Warrender Baths. 1887. Edinburgh, Scotland

A similar goal was behind the establishment of the Warrender Baths in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1887, except this one was a private club for the upper class.

Accidentally Wes Anderson
Klein Lighthouse. 1879. Willemstad, Curaçao

Lighthouses, described as “mystical beacons that have been saving sailors and enticing explorers for centuries,” reminded me of the movie written and directed by Derek Cianfrance The Light Between the Oceans (2016) with Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander.

Accidentally Wes Anderson
Skarfagardur Lighthouse. Reykjavik, Iceland

Visitors are encouraged to take photos of this exhibition and post them on Instagram. As I photojournalist, I chose to write this article. Another one will follow, about Los Angeles landmarks.

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