Multimedia artist Amanda Maccagnan honors John Waters: Pope Of Trash at The Academy Museum Of Motion Pictures




Maccagnan’s Stained Glass Portraits Reverently Celebrate Waters And His Daring Troupe Of Dreamlanders

Credit: John Waters: Pope of Trash, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by: Charles White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

September 17, 2023 - August 4, 2024
Academy Museum
6067 Wilshire Boulevard | Los Angeles, CA 90036 
Open 6 days a week | 10am - 6pm | Closed Tuesdays


Los Angeles, CA (September 15, 2022) - Deftly navigating the line between traditional techniques and modern influences, Queer multidisciplinary artist Amanda Maccagnan pays tribute to John Waters  in an abstracted church setting filled with homages to the iconic director and his movies in John Waters: Pope of Trash at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. Retained by the Academy Museum, Maccagnan unveils her newest stained-glass pieces, deeply rooted in Waters's influence and legacy, in her US debut. Maccagnan's stained glass portrait work is a monumental fusion of old-world techniques and her distinct style, epitomizing both tradition and innovation. 

Maccagnan's breathtaking stained glass, located in the exhibition’s entry gallery, is emblematic of her unwavering commitment to the art form, breathing new life into age-old methods. This project  combines traditional gothic influences with the subversive energy of John Waters's iconic characters. With six 2ft x 5ft pieces, the Academy Museum brought on Maccagnan to immortalize some of the legendary stars of Waters’s movies in stained glass. With a painting of the visionary himself as the “Pope of Trash,” a term coined by William S. Burroughs, Maccagnan’s works complement the immersive experience.  

Crafted using authentic old-world processes and materials, Maccagnan's pieces are a dance of deconstruction and reconstruction. From cutting colored glass and reverse stippling to multiple firings that breathe life into each layer, her stained glass paintings are the culmination of meticulous hours of dedication and craftsmanship. 

With a clear beat on the state of our world today, Maccagnan recognizes the powerful opportunity John Waters: Pope of Trash presents, as a Queer artist celebrating a man like Waters, who is unyielding in his authenticity. 

Maccagnan’s dedication to preserving the rawness of her subjects echoes the ethos of Waters's artistry. Each representation is both beautiful and accurate, refusing to retouch or filter their opinions. The works honor real people, from the iconic drag queens to the trailblazers who dared to step into the spotlight.

A lifelong fan of Waters, Maccagnan hopes her pieces inspire visitors to embrace their own audacious spirit, saying "I hope that what people take away from my work is a sense of their own audacity.”

About Amanda Maccagnan

Boundary-pushing, Queer mixed media artist Amanda Maccagnan (b.1985) is known for her stained glass, blending traditional and unconventional methods to bring a fresh approach to the old world art form. Deliberately deconstructing and reconstructing materials, she imbues the classic art form with modern influences. In a world of conventionalities, Maccagnan stands as a beacon of defiant originality and creative audacity. Through her work, she encourages viewers to question their core beliefs about art and its potential. Each piece is an incantation, an empowerment spell that has allowed the artist to find herself again. 

About the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

The Academy Museum is the largest museum in the United States devoted to the arts, sciences, and artists of moviemaking. The museum advances the understanding, celebration, and preservation of cinema through inclusive and accessible exhibitions, screenings, programs, initiatives, and collections. Designed by Pritzker Prize– winning architect Renzo Piano, the museum’s LEED gold certified campus contains the restored and revitalized historic Saban Building—formerly known as the May Company building (1939)—and a soaring spherical addition. Together, these buildings contain 50,000 square feet of exhibition spaces, two state-of-the-art theaters — the David Geffen Theater and Ted Mann Theater — the Shirley Temple Education Studio, and beautiful public spaces that are free and open to the public. These include: The Walt Disney Company Piazza and the Sidney Poitier Grand Lobby, which houses the Spielberg Family Gallery, the Academy Museum Store, and Fanny’s restaurant and café. The Academy Museum exhibition galleries and store are open six days a week, from 10am to 6pm and are closed on Tuesdays and Christmas Day.