Houdini: Art & Magic

Magician, escape artist, and showman extraordinaire Harry Houdini (1874–1926) has remained an object of fascination for generations. Combining biographical and historical artifacts with contemporary art inspired by his physical audacity and celebrity, Houdini: Art and Magic explores Houdini as an individual and an enduring cultural phenomenon, documenting the period in American history when the young Jewish immigrant helped shape the cultural landscape and became an acknowledged mass-market star. Featuring more than 150 objects—including film clips, stunning period posters, dramatic theater ephemera, rare photographs, original props (including a straitjacket, milk can, and Metamorphosis Trunk used by Houdini), and the work of select avant-garde artists—the exhibition reveals Houdini’s legacy as an iconic figure, both in his time and in ours, who has inspired artists today to reconsider his role as a daring persona. On view at the Skirball Center in  Los Angeles until September 4. www.skirball.org