ESMoA TIME Exhibition Is a Trip into Academy Award®-Winning Production Designer Rick Carter’s Mind

“When we make movies, it’s like that!” – Rick Carter


If there is a Hollywood “code” TIME, the current art exhibition at ESMoA in El Segundo, a project by artist and production designer Rick Carter, is a visual training ground to decipher some of the biggest movies of our time.

On view through September 21, 2022, TIME is an immersive collage that contemplates the concept of associative process of creative thinking and time.  The exhibition features paintings, drawings, and collages by Carter along with photographs, movie memorabilia, and additional works by eight other artists invited by ESMoA to participate.

Carter is a longtime painter widely known for his work as a film production designer and collaborator with directors including Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, James Cameron, and J.J. Abrams. Often he has envisioned designs that convey notions of time itself, melding the past with the present in Jurassic Park, conceptualizing time travel in Back to the Future, recreating multiple historic milieus in the epic tale Forrest Gump and the dramas Lincoln and Amistad, and devising an imaginary future for A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Star Wars, and Avatar. Often his design process commences with collage.



TIME envelops visitors in floor-to-ceiling layered imagery that extends 25 feet high and includes portraits by Carter hung from above on thirteen, four-sided displays; ​​preliminary sketches and collages from his many production designs; and props and memorabilia including a park bench from which Forrest Gump narrated his life story.

In addition, a diverse group of eight LA-based artists who work in a variety of media—including street art— were invited to collaborate with Carter on this installation. The result is a kaleidoscopic experience that merges iconic imagery and objects from Carter’s many film projects with graffiti, patterned textiles, paintings, and more. The contributing artists are Alex Garcia (LAB Artist in Residence), Luke Hayes, Muraji Khalil, ​​Dalila Paola Méndez, ​​Helena Park, Jacori “Aiseborn” Perry, Ivan “Mr Mustart” Petrovsky, and Carlos “Kopyeson” Talavera.

“There is a saying: Only time will tell. But if time could talk, what would it feel and look like?” asks exhibition curator Bernhard Zuenkeler.  “For an emotional translation of the theory of relativity, take a glimpse into the work of Rick Carter.”

​​“Over the past five decades as an artist and film production designer, I am frequently immersed in the realizations of visual concepts,” says Carter. “This experience at ESMoA provides the opportunity to explore with younger LA-based artists the legacy of my artistic career as both a painter and visual collaborator with movie directors.”
About Rick Carter

Carter is a two-time Academy Award®-winning production designer for Jim Cameron’s Avatar and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. Carter received his first Oscar® nomination for his work on Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump and was also nominated for Spielberg’s historic epic, War Horse. Carter also collaborated with Spielberg on the blockbusters Jurassic Park and its sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park, as well as such diversely set films as The PostThe BFGMunichThe War of the WorldsA.I. Artificial Intelligence and Amistad. He was Zemeckis’ production designer on the films The Polar ExpressCast AwayWhat Lies Beneath, Death Becomes Her and Back to the Future, Parts II and III. Recently, Carter co-production designed Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker with director JJ Abrams.

Related Public Program

Hollywood Marathon with Rick Carter
Friday, June 10, 6pm to 8pm, FREE
Two-time Oscar winner Rick Carter will be leading us through his filmography and providing an exclusive “behind the scenes” look at some of his most iconic films, including “Avatar,” “Jurassic Park,” “Back to the Future II” and “Back to the Future III”, and many more!

Making movies with Rick Carter and fellow TIME artists
Saturday, August 20, 1pm to 3pm, FREE
Take inspiration from our TIME exhibition and make your own movie! Come and join Rick Carter and some of the TIME artists for an introduction to movie making. Bring a smartphone (preferably an iPhone) or camera to participate, as well as a compatible laptop if you want to try editing!

More public programming

About ESMoA

ESMoA is an art laboratory located in El Segundo, California and is run by artlab21 Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3). Founded in 2013, its mission is to spread the spark of creativity through the display and education of visual arts. ESMoA functions as a catalyst for creative thinking offering unique “Experiences.” The “Experiences”—a.k.a. exhibitions—present a variety of media, including sculpture, painting, works on paper, performances, and photography.  ESMoA’s activity is based on three fundamental pillars: experiences, arts education programs, and artist residencies. ESMoA provides an array of programs and events, including school programs, artist-led workshops, talks, and family days.

Visitor Information

Admission to ESMoA is free. Hours: Thursday, 12–5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. ESMoA is located at 208 Main Street, El Segundo, CA 90245, near the corner of Main Street and Franklin Street. Nearby parking is available at free city lots on Grand Avenue or atop the parking garage attached to the 99 Cent Only Store. The entrance to the parking garage is on Grand Avenue. Free street parking is available in two-hour increments.

Images: ESMoA Experience 51: TIME
Image credit: Mark Knight

For installation photographs click here.

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