LOS ANGELES — It’s been more than 20 years since the “trial of the century,” and we’re still talking about O.J. Simpson.
Following news of Simpson’s parole last week, a pop-up museum devoted to the disgraced football star will set up shop in Los Angeles.
The O.J. Simpson Museum will operate at the Coagula Curatorial Gallery in Chinatown from Aug. 18-22 and will focus on the media craze surrounding his 1995 trial.
“Interest in the case has not waned, it’s only gotten stronger,” museum curator Adam Papagan said.
The five-day exhibit will house a colorful array of artifacts related to the trial, in which Simpson was acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. Items on display will range from a collection of bootleg trial T-shirts to board games based on the case.
The people’s art
The display of what Papagan describes as “murderabilia” is meant to attract those nostalgic for the ’90s and younger generations who weren’t alive for the trial but want to understand what their parents were so obsessed about.
He says it’s more so about the phenomenon Simpson created than about Simpson himself.
“I’m sure some people might think it’s in poor taste,” Papagan said. “But for every one of those people, there’s going to be 50 people taking selfies and making jokes about finding the real killer.”
Papagan told CNN that as a child growing up in West Los Angeles at the time of the trial, he didn’t understand its implications. He went to school down the street from the scene of the crime.
He said he realized that despite the glut of trial coverage, one element that wasn’t documented was the fan culture surrounding the case. So he started collecting memorabilia from the trial.
The collection represents the people’s viewpoint, he said.
“It’s not documented, there’s no pictures of it on the Internet,” Papagan said. “This crass fan culture hasn’t been given the attention I think it deserves.”
Among artifacts on display is a 1994 Ford Bronco, the vehicle O.J. was inside during his infamous police chase in 1994. It is not Simpson’s actual Bronco, but a similar one that Papagan purchased through crowdfunding.
The museum will house an O.J. library, interactive video displays, sports memorabilia, original artwork and a gift shop.
As a reminder of the true human cost of the trial, the museum also will include a tribute to Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, Papagan told CNN.
“They’re at the center of this,” he said. “I think this is really going to help the public see them as two individuals, not just O.J.’s wife and her friend.”
Admission to the museum is $5 at the door. After its limited showing, the collection will then return to its permanent home — spread among a few boxes in Papagan’s attic.