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Home | Tim Burton’s Retrospective at the MoMA

Tim Burton’s Retrospective at the MoMA

If it’s Halloween, it must be time for Nightmare before Christmas! Earlier this year I had the pleasure of seeing Tim Burton’s Exhibit at the MoMA.

Tim Burton has a way of making the utterly macabre seem warm and delightfully endearing. He’s so great at what he does he was offered an exhibition spot at the Museum of Modern Art, or the MoMA. From November 22, 2009 until April 26, 2010 the retrospective included over 700 drawings, paintings, photographs, storyboards, moving-image works, puppets, Marquette’s, costumes, props, and cinematic ephemera. Most were obscure and from Burton’s personal collection.

The show also included amateur and student films, music videos, commercials, digital slideshows and a complete set of features and shorts.

While viewing this collection I felt incredibly enchanted. I loved seeing many of his more obscure works. I never realized that he has worked on so many projects before and had created so much art. Burton creates a universe that is haunting and yet you can’t keep your eyes off of it. I really enjoyed his sculptures, his earlier works and his drawings.
What inspires Burton’s creations? The roots of his creative genius lie in the work of stop-motion pioneer Ray Harryhausen and horror films starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Vincent Price. He is even inspired by early works of Walt Disney and films by Federico Fellini. “Vincent Price, Edgar Allen Poe, those monster movies, those spoke to me.” (Tim Burton, Burton on Burton) While viewing the exhibit there was a whole section about “Surviving Burbank” with excerpts of his work and of his thoughts during his teenage years. He mostly felt isolated and different from others so he would immerse himself into the world of the macabre and it fascinated him and his art.

Burton has worked on a number of movies. Some of them I had no idea he helped make or was the star of the directing process. Did you know about some of these movies? His great collection includes: Vincent ( short stop-action-animation film- 1982), Hansel and Gretel (made exclusively for the Disney Channel -1983), Frankenweenie (live-action short-1984), Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985), Beetlejuice (1988), Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Cabin Boy (1994), Ed Wood (1994) , James and the Giant Peach (1996), Mars Attacks! (1996), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Planet of the Apes (2001), Big Fish (2003), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Corpse Bride (2005), Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), 9 (2009), and his latest, Alice in Wonderland (2010).

He has several projects in production right now including, a stop-motion animation of his short Frankenweenie. He is also set to direct a film adaptation based on the television series Dark Shadow. During Comic-Con 2009 Burton confirmed that Dark Shadows will be his next film. There are also several rumored projects and collaborations he may work on, including a Sleeping Beauty inspired project, showcasing Maleficent. He may also do an Addams Family stop motion animation movie and work on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Taken from Ron Magliozzi’s, the organizer of the exhibit, Tim Burton Biography, Timothy Walter Burton was born in Burbank, California on August 25, 1958. He was raised in a sunny-middle class neighborhood of the city.

He never felt at ease or home there so he dove into the recesses of his imagination. He consoled himself with the pleasures of drawing and humor. In newspaper, comics, advertising, greeting cards, children’s literature, toys, animated cartoons, monster movies, science fiction films, carnival sideshows, performance art, and holiday rituals, including the art of the Mexican day of the Dead, Burton has found the subjects and themes that he has explored in feature films, shorts, and commercials, and on television and the Web since 1982.

After Graduating from Burbank High School, he enrolled in the California Institute of the Arts to study character animation. Shortly after graduating college, he was hired at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Shortly after, he began making his own shorts and films, carrying a gothic unique aesthetic that isn’t always suited for Disney. Burton is in a relationship with Helena Bonham Carter and they have a son together. He spends his time in Los Angeles, London, and Prague when not working on films.

He frequently collaborates with: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Christopher Lee, Deep Roy, Michael Gough, Jeffrey Jones, Danny DeVito, Alan Rickman and Michael Keaton. He also works with, Danny Elfman, Richard D. Zanuck, Denise Di Novi, Colleen Atwood, John August, Caroline Thompson, Pamela Pettler , Bo Welch, Philippe Rousselot , Chris Lebenzon and Susie Figgis.

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