Tim Burton at MoMA
posted: November 19, 2009
We were lucky enough to receive invites to the opening party for Tim Burton's comprehensive retrospective show at MoMA, compliments of my third grade friend, Akira. It was more crowded than I like for viewing art, but it was a night to remember and a great chance to examine his work up close. I was very impressed with the sophistication of his drawings and his success at playing and living a child's fantasy an adult. Attached are some of Julie's photos from the affair, but I highly recommend you turn out and see this for yourself....
Julie at the entrance to the show....
Free drinks flowed and the party raged on....
Somebody should cut this guy off....
The exhibit is extensive with detailed info about his artistic evolution and behind the scene info on his films....
There were some characters I hadn't seen before....
...and many we are all familiar with....
His drawings are quite beautiful and he explores a wide range of medium....
One of my personal fave films. ...
Corpse Bride


Steve B November 19, 2009
Burton's stuff is fun and I would especially think so if I were 10. I've seen his sketches and they have life and excitement. But these plastic things here seem very commercially produced, like stuff you'd find in the Disney Store. I swear it's true: none of it touches the art and humanity of the painting you have on your header. Maybe Tim can pick up a few things from your site.
David Gothard November 19, 2009
Hey Steve - thanks for that very generous comment. The figures do have that commercial look, but perhaps it's due to their ubiquitous nature - the over production of plastic Burton toys. They are actually made from sculpey and various clays and I marveled at the command of the medium. My overall reaction to the show is that this guy is just playing....all the time, like a hyperactive kid with tremendous imagination.
Peter Cusack November 19, 2009
Sounds/looks like you guys had a lot of fun! Thanks for the inside look. I understand what Steve is saying . . . makes me think about how much I miss the old MOMA. Everything is changing around here! I guess we just go with it.
Harry November 19, 2009
I was at Moma last week specifically for the Bauhaus exhibit, recommend. They were still setting up the T Burton exhibit and the it seems MOMA has this free Friday nights thing and the flood gates opened. I'll have to bring my kids by, they would love it. I brought my students to the Pixar show a few years back, extensive from what I recall, though not sure any of the commercial work belongs there. I mean the Bauhaus was inevitably commercial and they have modern utilitarian design on display but still not sure Burton or Pixar belong.
nwright November 19, 2009
great discussion guys- I too saw Pixar..loved it. will get to this one too. when discussed as an "art of movie making" doesn't these genres belong in some capacity at the Museum of Modern Art??? Many students today leaving art schools head in many directions, a bigger one of which happens to be "the art of" movie making!
Harry November 19, 2009
NW-I agree to some extent, that's why I brought my students to the Pixar show. I certainly wouldn't turn down an invite to an opening at MOMA, love love love that place.
Christoph Hitz November 19, 2009
Now there is a good reason to venture into the city, Tim Burton is the Felini of his generation.
Brian Taylor Illustration November 20, 2009
Believe that rattlesnake is from Beetlejuice.
Akira Fitton November 20, 2009
Hi Dave, I once guest taught an art class at the New School about movie art direction/production design. The students were shocked and enlightened that art played such an important role in movie making. We then watch THE COMPANY OF WOLVES, a film production that is entirely created by the art department. One student came up to me later and said the class changed her life (a bit of an overstatement, but a nice compliment).
Terry Brown November 20, 2009
David, It was a great opening. MoMA does it up top shelf. And it was packed. I think that show will never have a lull. And Tim's writings were a highlight for me. Nice handwriting describing the personalities of his characters, but not the look. That's all in his drawings. Saw Tim. He could use some hair product and a comb. And if you come to NYC for this, also catch Animazing Gallery in SoHo. They have the storyboards for "Nightmare Before Christmas". Ka-boom!
Richard Downs November 22, 2009
Nice post, David. Our sky looked just like your header last night, a beauty of a painting. I also think that the career of Tim Burton would be an appropriate exhibit at the Museum. Burton has been a significant part of contemporary culture for years with a commercial impact yes, but an impact, non the less.
Scott Bakal November 23, 2009
I tried to get to this show when I was in NYC last week but it is great to see the shots! Thanks for posting!
Mike Moran November 23, 2009
We went yesterday. What a great show. the place was PACKED!
Marsha November 24, 2009
Tim Burton is Molly's absolutely favorite director and she has seen everyone of his films - not typical for a 17-year old! (OF course, Johnny Depp doesn't hurt either). How long is the show going on?
Stephen Kroninger February 14, 2010
Saw the Tim Burton exhibit last night with my wife and kids. We all thought it was mighty impressive.