While most film directors are considered “artists”, there are only a few that fit that role to it’s essential definition. Tim Burton is a filmmaker, writer, painter, and photographer. These skills alone could warrant him a feature at most museums, before you even take into account the vast worlds that Burton has created with every one of his films. We were lucky enough to get an exclusive peak at the brand new Tim Burton Exhibit in New York’s Museum of Modern Art sponsored by the SyFy channel, and we were blown away.
Starting with the opening hallway, the very first room lets you into Burton’s twisted Carnival setting, in which black light, several neon paintings, and a single rotating object sits in the center of the room. This alone is enough to make most cheap haunted houses worth it, and the real exhibit hasn’t even started.
The floor then leads to an open room, with Burton’s chronological work in film, sketches, and napkin notes in display along the walls. The artist came in personally to work with the museum on placement of each piece, from wall portrait to some of his sculptures. One that stands out in particular is his Robot Boy sculpture, which is interactive.
In the adjacent room is a collection of Burton’s film props and models. Everything ranging from Beetlejuice to Batman to Sleepy Hollow was on display, including the prop heads of Sarah Jessica Parker and Pierce Brosnan from Mars Attacks!.
There are plenty of things to be seen on this first floor, from some of his early Joker sketches, to scale models of much larger set pieces, and even the original Ed Wood Mystery Door. From there, the exhibit moves downstairs, and into the theater.
The museum was aware that spectators can’t take in the true vision of Tim Burton’s work without sitting through his films themselves, which is why they have opened up their theater to hold a Tim Burton marathon. Every film, in chronological order, from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure to Sweeney Todd. You can check out a complete schedule of the Burton marathon, as well as films that inspired Tim Burton at MoMa’s official site.
The exhibit opened on November 22 and runs straight through April 26. Overall, the show is definitely not one worth missing if you are in the Manhattan area. Tim Burton is truly an innovative director, and may be the one time that you can experience his career all at once.