MoMa Presents: Tim Burton, a Retrospective

Escaping the Mind of Tim Burton...
Image by Tasayu Tasnaphun via Flickr

By Maggie Mineo
Staff Writer

Tim Burton is known as one of the most creative, imaginative directors in Hollywood. His masterpieces range from The Nightmare before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, and Beetlejuice, to the highly anticipated Alice in Wonderland, which will be hitting theaters this month. With such a unique,madman approach to art, Burton’s work is now taken from the big screen to the walls of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in New York City.

Many familiar faces came out to honor one of the most distinct filmmakers of all time on Sunday, November 22nd. Burton-muse and frequent collaborator Johnny Depp was one of the guests, as well as Helena Bonham Carter, his longtime love and mother of his children (who ironically looked like she just escaped from one of Burton’s twisted films). Fashion Designer Zac Posen, actress Brooke Shields and funny man Danny Devito were also in attendance. The opening was filled with over 2,000 people excited to see the exhibit and honor Burton.

The exhibit, which opened in mid November and will run through April, offers viewers an inside peek into the wacky world of Tim Burton. On display are movie posters, film memorabilia, childhood drawings, short films and other works designed by the artist taken from his private collection. This collection of 700 pieces depicts the life of Burton from when he was a quirky child to present day A-list filmmaker. The 51-year-old artist’s style has certainly evolved. In addition to his own works, the museum presents a series of films that have inspired the artist’s own creative mind including, Frankenstein and silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The curators at MoMA rummaged through Burton’s home– his cabinets, his basement and around every corner– to find the hidden treasures for this breath-taking and scatterbrained show that Burton himself calls, “an out-of-body experience.”

To enter the exhibit, you must walk through a giant monster’s mouth fit with pointy teeth into a  creepy, dark hallway which resembles a scene straight out of Beetlejuice — not your normal walk through an art museum, but more like a funhouse. This exhibit shows the evolution of Burton’s art, displaying numerous paintings, drawings, poetry, photographs and 3D creations depicting scenes from his iconic movies and those ideas that never made it to the big screen. Also, you can check out his early drawings from when he was an animator at Disney, which invoke a sense of anarchy to say the least. You would never guess that he worked on Disney’s Fox and the Hound, would you? Giant Polaroids of Gothic models are on one wall accompanied by the original masks worn in Batman on another. In the middle of the room is a gory glass case filled with decapitated heads which were used in Burton’s film Mars Attacks!. One of the most amazing works on display is a 21-foot-tall sculpture of Edward Scissorhands. A little peek into the future was also refreshing, with sketches and drawings of Burton’s latest venture, Alice in Wonderland.

When MoMA curators first approached Burton about displaying his artwork, he was a tad bit surprised. “I didn’t grow up in a real museum culture,” Burton said at a press conference. “I think I went to the Hollywood Wax Museum as my first museum…I was of that generation where I got more out of The Beverly Hillbillies than Monet.”

While Burton says he is grateful to have had “a lot of great things happen to him” he adds, “this tops it all. It’s amazing and surreal.” The exhibition, sponsored by the SyFy channel, is a must see visual autobiography of one of the most iconic filmmakers to date. Don’t miss your chance to experience the “weird and wonderful” world of Tim Burton!

Where: Museum of Modern Art, 3rd Floor Special Exhibition Gallery

11 W. 53 Street New York, NY 10019

When: Exhibit runs from November 22, 2009-April 26, 2010

Rates: Adults, $20,  Students $12, and Children are FREE!

For more info, check out the MoMA’s website.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]