at the MoMA, 11 West 53rd Street
In what must be the museum’s most talked about exhibit of 2009, the life’s work of the darkly comic and inventive Tim Burton is on vibrant and thrilling display now through April 26th. The scope of the work, from his teenage short stories about evil doctors to his latest sketches for the yet to be released Alice in Wonderland, is impressive and truly inspiring.
The exhibit opens with a kooky black and white walkway playing some of his Stain Boy cartoons, which makes you feel like you’ve walked onto one of his sets (you’ll also feel a strong urge to re-watch Beetlejuice). Next comes the circusy black-light room with a moving carousel Burton made especially for the exhibit – all of the sculptures, including this one are fantastic (I especially love the crazed Campbell soup kids singed by fire) and be sure to look up as some are hung quite high. Many of the sculptures were created by Rick Heinrichs and Neal Scanlan Studios.
Just as cool as the huge 3-dimensional works are the simple and whimsical sketches. Among my favorite are The Teenager, Little Dead Riding Hood, and the monster drawings. It’s also very awesome to see some of the iconic costumes and props from his films, including the Ed Wood’s angora sweater, Cat Woman’s get up, the Edward Scissorhands costume, and a crazy-in-person textured headless horseman cape.
As a fan of Burton for years, I was particularly tickled, but even coworkers who were not familiar with his work became enamored of his amazing imagination.