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Tim Burton MoMA Press Preview

Posted by LiveFor on November 19, 2009


“Believe me, you’ve actually helped me more than you know in getting my act together so thank you very much.” Tim Burton said in jest to MoMa staff members at this week’s Press Preview of his upcoming exhibition simply titled, TIM BURTON.

You’d think with an event as complicated as this it would be hard to pinpoint the exact moment the idea was born, but this is not the case. Ron Magliozzi, Assistant Curator, Department of Film, MoMA recalled, “Sunday, July 31, 2005 approximately 11:50 am.” in Queens NY. He was watching CHARLIE and THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and as Johnny Depp walked down a long dark hallway “and opened a door into a psychedelic pop-inspired world of color.” he continued. “That gesture recalled in an instant the contrasting gothic world of Burton’s other work that opened a series of doors that led us to today.”

It was a long journey both in time and miles. MoMA staff travelled to London and Manchester, England; Barcelona; Los Angeles, CA; and, of course, Burbank…the birthplace of all things Burtonesque. In eary 2008, and with Tim’s approval, they returned to California to research the Disney, Warner Brothers and 20th Century archives for what Magliozzi referred to as “evidence and artifacts.” 2008 and early 2009 saw trips to the Burton archives in London for additional material. “One day we were even allowed to wander unchaperoned through Tim’s home in the chance that we might see something on the wall that was worth bringing.” he said. ” We’ve spent a number of privileged and inspiring hours studying thousands of drawings, paintings, scrapbooks, sketchbooks and the various other strange surfaces which Tim has sketched since childhood.”

And yes, Tim Burton still creates art. How could he not? After spending several days at MoMA last spring, he created multiple sculptures for the exhibition. Some are familiar. Some not. All are breathtaking. Kudos to MoMA for recreating Burton’s creative life. Their success is a stunning achievement, but really the exhibition is just fun for both adults and children. Don’t leave the kiddies home for this one. They’ll have a great time.

Entrance to the gallery is through the mouth of a black and white striped hairy beast…the light is dim…the floor red. At the end of the hallway and around a corner is Burton’s 1st new sculpture…a hanging carousel found only in your dreams…in a room with black light paintings. And that’s just the beginning.

Burton’s entire career is examined from a 1970’s junior composition paper to ALICE in WONDERLAND artwork. Some highlights include a lifesize Edward Scissorhands; Ed Wood’s angora sweater; severed heads from SLEEPY HOLLOW; a Stainboy sculpture; Sweeny Todd’s razors; and Burton’s first films made in his own backyard. And, yes, his oversized Polaroid collection is included.

Jenny He, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Film, said “Burton’s 1992-1999 still life Polaroid project resulted from escaping out to the desert as a relief and release from his day job as director of fairy tales and fables and German Expressionism.” Boy, that sure puts a whole new take on living for the weekend. And we thought it was just the everyday worker…What a relief.

So Mr.Burton do you have any thoughts on the exhibition?

“Thanks to everybody who raided my places and looked under every rock to find things and almost gave me a heart attack.” he said smiling. “But it’s a real honor. It’s a thing that has special meaning for me. Is there a doctor here? I want to check and see if I’m dead.”

But Tim how do you really feel about it?

“It’s been an out of body experience. In my life I’ve had many surreal, great things happen to me like meeting my idol Vincent Price, being able to make movies and this one, I think, tops it in the sense that it’s the most amazing and surreal and its what you look for in life…these great and impressive moments.”

Well said, Mr. Burton. Well said.

A final note. The New York Exhibition runs 11/22/09 – 4/26/10. TIM BURTON will then travel to the Australian Center for the Moving Image, Melbourne in June 2010 and then on to Canada at Toronto’s The Bell Lightbox in November 2010.

I’m sure you will agree, a great article by regular Live for Films reporter/researcher Pamela.

3 Responses to “Tim Burton MoMA Press Preview”

  1. kseverny said

    what a display.
    the voodoo doll. brilliant

  2. pjowens75 said

    Dang. It isn’t very often that I wished I lived in NYC, but this is one of those times. To be able to just take in the exhibit any time would be cool. This is one I would love to see.

  3. […] Tim Burton MoMA Press Preview […]

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