NYC: Tim Burton artwork will take over MoMA in November

Derek Frey
Co-director Tim Burton on the set of "Corpse Bride"

Fans of Tim Burton will be excited to learn that MOMA (The Museum of Modern Art) is planning an exhibition dedicated to the zany director.

Opening in November, the exhibition "Tim Burton" will salute the director's 27-year career by displaying various items, from his pen and ink sketches of Edward Scissorhands to watercolor paintings from The Nightmare Before Christmas. More than 700 rare examples of his work will be on display from Nov. 22, 2009, through April 26, 2010.

When museum curators expressed interest in displaying Burton's artwork at the MOMA—one of the world's foremost contemporary art collections—he was slightly surprised.

"I didn't grow up in a real museum culture," Burton said at a press conference Wednesday. "I think I went to the Hollywood Wax Museum as my first museum…I was of that generation where I got more out of The Beverly Hillbillies than Monet."

But the exhibition "Tim Burton," considered the largest monographic collection the MOMA has curated to date, isn't a feat to be modest about.

It will consist of never-before-seen paintings, drawings, photographs, storyboards, puppets, costumes, and a film series, with the first public showing of his student and early nonprofessional films.

From November 18–30, full-length features will be screened, too, including Pee-wee's Big Adventure and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

The exhibit takes a broad view of Burton's conceptual and production process, including original puppets from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride, severed-head props from Mars Attacks!, and costumes from Batman Returns and Sleepy Hollow.

Burton said producing art was always a private and quiet process for him. He used his artwork as a subconscious journal to explore ideas over the years. So Burton is getting to re-discover some of the residual work he had kept hidden away in drawers for years. "Every now and then, and since I had never done it, it's good to kind of go back and reconnect with yourself," he told reporters yesterday. "It kind of re-energizes you and connects you and gets the nerve-endings going again."

("Tim Burton" opens November 22, 2009., admission, $20 adults.)

—David Cumming

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