Exclusive: Artist Robert Brandenburg Subverts 'Manhattan' And More In New Mondo Gallery Show

The primary purpose of a movie poster is to tell a consumer about a film in hopes they'll want to watch it. Artist Robert Brandenburg wants to do the same thing. He's just selling the wrong message. The Ohio-based artist, who came onto the pop art scene at Gallery 1988 in 2011, is one half of the latest exhibit the Mondo Gallery in Austin, Texas, opening September 14. His work in the show consists of seven original movie posters on which he has painted, ever so slightly, to completely subvert the purpose of the poster. For example, he reworked Deliverance, seen above.

/Film is proud to debut Brandenburg's hilarious reinterpretation of Woody Allen's 1979 film Manhattan along with an interview with the artist, discussing his choices, style and revealing which other films will be featured in the exhibit. Two words: Free Willy. Check it out below.

The latest exhibit at the Mondo Gallery, featuring work by Robert Bradenburg and Craig Drake (see some of Drake's work here and here) opens September 14 and runs through Fantastic Fest, ending October 6. For more information, including gallery hours, visit www.mondotees.com.

This is what the original one sheet for Woody Allen's Manhattan looks like.

And here's Robert Brandenburg's interpretation.

/Film: Please take me through your overall theme for this show as well as the Manhattan piece in particular.

Robert Brandenburg: The theme was just to alter original 1 sheet movie posters (this was Mondo's / Mitch Putnam's idea that they pitched to me...I said, "Yes"). They told me that I could do any era or subject of film. Manhattan was just one that appealed to me, as I got the concept for it after looking at it online for just a few moments.

How do you choose a image to manipulate, decide on the specific way you want to subvert it, and how many different versions are there usually for each one?

I looked at thousands of posters and picked one if an idea for it popped into my head right away. There is only one version of the poster...the one you'll see in the show.

Most of Mondo's posters are officially licensed complete with filmmaker approval, is that the case of any of your work in this show and have you ever heard feedback from an advertiser or artist whose work you've used?

I'm not aware if the filmmakers or studios of my movies having been contacted by Mondo at this point. I've yet to hear from any private or corporate entity whose work, brand, or product I've manipulated for my art.

Do you expect film purists to be angry at the way you're poking fun at these iconic movie posters? If they did, what would you say?

I'd like to think that even film purists have a sense of humor. If someone doesn't like any or all of my artwork, it doesn't bother me; I don't expect to please everyone. If an idea pleases me, I do it.

/Film was fortunately enough to premiere some of your art when you began working with Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles. How did you start to work for Mondo and how would you say working for them is different than other galleries?

I was approached by Mitch Putnam at Mondo this past January via email. He informed me that they were getting ready to open a gallery space, and would I like to do something with them for the debut show (science fiction films) in March. I replied favorably, and small reproduction piece of an Italian 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea poster was my entry. Later Mitch brought up the idea of doing the original movie posters. I can't really say that working with Mondo is that much different from working with G1988; they're both pretty laid back, and let me do my own thing with no hassles. I like the creative freedom they provide.

Besides the Manhattan image that we're premiering, what other films can we expect to see in the gallery show and will there be prints of any available?

There will be posters of Deliverance, The Way We Were, The War Between Men and Women (an obscure Jack Lemmon film from the early seventies), Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Gandhi, and Free Willy 3 (jeez...I didn't even know there had been a Free Willy 2). The two 'unknown' films I just couldn't resist because of their images.

How many total pieces do you have in the show?

I have 7 full sized {27" X 41"}, matted and framed, original posters. There are no prints of any of these available.

Robert Brandenburg and Craig Drake's show at the Mondo Gallery opens September 14.