Welcome to Wonder Rooms, a collaborative archival and data collection project that looks at the fissures in traditional museum structures by turning MoMI’s long-running exhibit Behind the Screen into a site of testimony and witness.

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This is a new media artwork by Mala Kumar, commissioned by Museum of the Moving Image through generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts (Media Arts Program).

Rudolph Valentino Beautebox, c. 1925


This beautebox depicts Rudolph Valentino in his role in the 1921 silent film The Sheik. Rudolph’s dark eyes and hair and “exotic” foreign heritage first typecast Valentino into villain roles. Later, after finding widespread success with his roles in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and The Sheik, he became known as the “Latin Lover,” a persona constructed in part by the Hollywood studio system.

As one of the premier sex symbols of the 1920s, his refined good looks and elegant, dandy appearance caused mass mysteria in women and jealousy in men who were threated by his status, with critics questioning his masculinity and speculating about his sexual orientation.

Tags: Film