Burton’s world of whimsy

gallery review by Audrey Meubus

Until April 26, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is exhibiting the works of infamous artist, filmmaker and writer, Tim Burton. As an admirer of Burton’s work, I decided to head down to New York for a weekend with very high expectations…and I was not disappointed.

The way the exhibit is presented truly submerges the viewer in Tim Burton’s twisted psyche; everything is arranged to faithfully represent the “Burtonesque” world of whimsy and darkness that he has created after almost three decades of artistic work.

The museum curators managed to get a hold of over 700 rare pieces, tracing back from his early childhood up to his current work in film, including never-before-seen animated shorts, sculptures, paintings and even pages straight out of his personal sketchbooks. Visitors gain entry to the main exposition gallery on the third floor through the mouth of a fanged one-eyed beast, venturing into a dark corridor where television screens blare episodes of “The World of Stainboy”.

The most impressive aspect of Burton’s work is the nonchalance that seems to accompany each painting, sketch or drawing; despite the imperfections or the lack of technical application, his style stands out as unique and honest. Some people may not appreciate Tim Burton’s signature look because of his rather pessimistic views on life, childhood and love, but it would be difficult  not to chuckle at pieces such as his “Boy Series,” depicting awkward teenaged boys in common situations, or even his small figurines that bear titles such as “Girl with many eyes” next to “Boy with Nails In Eyes” 

One room in the exhibit featured objects from his many movies, such as the full cape that the Headless Horseman wears in Sleepy Hollow, several props from Batman Returns and Planet of the Apes, or even a life-size model of Edward from Edward Scissorhands.

Unfortunately, because of the popularity of this exhibit, it is impossible to stand in one place for more than a minute or two before being ushered on by security personnel. Photographs are also not permitted and to avoid any altercations with the museum staff, it would be wise to keep cameras in their cases at all times. Needless to say, buying tickets online ahead of time or even becoming a member of the museum is a must if viewers intend to avoid waiting in line for over an hour.

After only twenty minutes, the exhibit halls were a sea of children, hipsters and the easily recognized selection of Nightmare Before Christmas fans. Overall, a truly delightful experience that makes a spontaneous trip to New York entirely worth while. 


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