Tim Burton is a prolific filmmaker with a wide-reaching niche audience that appreciates his unique vision and fantastical mind. His unmistakable look and point of view in art and film has been brought to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan in a wide-ranging collection of Burton’s artwork including drawings, storyboards, maquettes (models), puppets, photographs and more.
If you could manage to make your way through the insane crowds at this exhibit, especially during its final month, it is well worth the trouble and price of admission.
Even long-time fans of Burton who are well-versed in his work will be surprised at the amount of artwork he has created over the years. The exhibit is more than props and art from the known films Burton has worked on, it is an inside look at the workings of this artists’ mind.
The wit and humor of his work, coupled with the gothic and German expressionism, which inspired his perspective, makes his art instantly recognizable. Well-loved signatures like the tell-tale black and white stripes and his wickedly dark humor abound, many of the drawings are chuckle-out-loud, such as the titled “Constipated Poodle” and “Man with Seeing Eye Dogs,” which are literal interpretations of the titles. Burton’s brand of humor seemed to elude some of the visitors, but everyone could appreciate the cool factor of seeing some of the props and costumes like the suit from “Edward Scissorhands” and the headless horseman costume from “Sleepy Hollow.”
Costume designer Colleen Atwood’s handiwork is on display, and Burton’s genius in working with her in film after film is all a part of his legacy. There are tons of fun goodies on view as well, including a hand-scrawled note from Burton to Johnny Depp with some notes on his character in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
Be sure not to miss out on the displays on multiple floors which are set up, in addition to the main “through the creature’s mouth” part of the exhibit. Some gems such as additional drawings, movie posters, and an “Edward Scissorhand” homage are set up on various floors and the topiary at the museum.
The most thrilling part of the exhibit was seeing Burton’s mind develop over the years, and seeing his creations go from birth to fruition- from notes scratched on cocktail napkins, to rough scripts, to sketches, to storyboards, to the final films we know and love.
The popularity of the Burton exhibit shows not only aficionados of Burton are lining up to see the work, but how intrigued the public is by film and its creators. Although there are a lot of filmmakers out there who do not have the vast amount of art work as a background to their visions as Burton does, hopefully the success of this exhibit will inspire future exhibits for those who do.
The inherent relationship between other art forms and filmmaking is apparent in the works of unique artists like Burton, and the breadth and depth of this exhibit gets that truism across.