Front Desk New York November 2009 : Page 34

FrontDesk / November 2009 culture The Genius Madman A newMoMA retrospective takes you inside the whimsical world of director timBurton BY Julie Alvin / PhotogrAPhY BY derek freY Fans of creepy-cool artist anddirectorTimBurton, theman responsible for macabre and darkly comical films like Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice and the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remake, must visit the Museum of Modern Art this month, where they’ll be honoring Burton’s life’s work with a career-spanning retrospective. The king of fright and fable, Burton, who is currently working on his next film, Alice inWonderland (starring Johnny Depp), is the focus of a sweeping exhibition of more than 700 pieces, many from his private collection and on view for the first time. The as-yet-unseen drawings and paintings span from his years as a kid growing up in Burbank to his stint as a Disney animator and, later, one of Hollywood’s most successful filmmakers. Some of the still-life images on display will feature his typical fearsome themes: grinning, scarred jesters swilling from bottles of arsenic in the Clown Series, aliens with three eyes and gaping mouths in the Creature Series and winding, vertigo-inspiring hallways and monsters in the Trick or Treat series. Burton has also donated his personal Polaroids to the exhibit, like the grotesque series Blue Girl. (Not for the faint of heart, the mangled subject holds what appears to be the corpse of an infant.) Another image, not totally suitable for easily frightened children, 34

The Genius Madman

A new MoMA retrospective takes you inside the whimsical world of director tim Burton<br /> <br /> Fans of creepy-cool artist and director Tim Burton, the man responsible for macabre and darkly comical films like Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice and the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remake, must visit the Museum of Modern Art this month, where they’ll be honoring Burton’s life’s work with a career-spanning retrospective. The king of fright and fable, Burton, who is currently working on his next film, Alice in Wonderland (starring Johnny Depp), is the focus of a sweeping exhibition of more than 700 pieces, many from his private collection and on view for the first time.<br /> <br /> The as-yet-unseen drawings and paintings span from his years as a kid growing up in Burbank to his stint as a Disney animator and, later, one of Hollywood’s most successful filmmakers. Some of the still-life images on display will feature his typical fearsome themes: grinning, scarred jesters swilling from bottles of arsenic in the Clown Series, aliens with three eyes and gaping mouths in the Creature Series and winding, vertigo-inspiring hallways and monsters in the Trick or Treat series.<br /> <br /> Burton has also donated his personal Polaroids to the exhibit, like the grotesque series Blue Girl. (Not for the faint of heart, the mangled subject holds what appears to be the corpse of an infant.)<br /> <br /> Another image, not totally suitable for easily frightened children,Shows various severed limbs belonging to Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas.<br /> <br /> As for the film ephemera and memorabilia on display, the amount is staggering. Virtually all of Burton’s cinematic works are represented—Sweeney Todd’s ink sketches, Corpse Bride and James and the Giant Peach’s actual puppets and Beetlejuice’s scale models of the set. Rounding out the retrospective is a viewing series of Burton’s entire cinematic body of work, including his 14 feature films, two early short films, and the MoMA-curated The Lurid Beauty of Monsters, which is a series of old films that inspired Burton and influenced his haunting style.<br /> <br /> “This exhibition provides us with the rare, virtually unique opportunity to focus attention on a filmmaker who has created so much remarkable work that it’s appropriate for display in a gallery setting, as well as on screen,” says Ron Magliozzi, assistant curator in MoMA’s department of film. Burton is certainly as much an artist as he is a director, if not even more so, and this exhibition will give fans a giant glimpse into his warped and fantastic imagination.

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