Friday, June 10, 2011

Tim Burton at LACMA

image0-8The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is hosting a Tim Burton retrospective exploring his the full range of his creative efforts. Visitors see work from the artist as a young man and all throughout his career.

The exhibition brings together over 700 drawings, paintings, photographs, moving-image works, storyboards, puppets, concept artworks, maquettes, costumes, and cinematic ephemera, including art from a number of unrealized and little-known personal projects. Many of these objects come from the artist's own archive, as well as from studio archives and private collections of Burton's collaborators. Hundreds of never-before-exhibited artworks and sketches will be joined by a selection of film posters accompanied by music composed for the exhibition by Burton's longtime collaborator Danny Elfman.

My family and I visited on opening weekend, June 5. We had non-member tickets for 2:00 pm entry. We arrived just before our entry time and queued up at the back of a long line of people waiting outside in the sun. We waited for 20 minutes before moving to a second line, where we waited another 15 minutes. After entering the exhibit proper, we were packed into a tight entry hall which gradually opened into large exhibit spaces. My advice – go during off ours to avoid the crush. I felt hurried and cramped at the start of the show. That’s annoying. If I were short I would have been forced to stand in line and sidestep along a wall to see everything in the first two room. thankfully, most of the population of LA is 5’6” so I was able to see over their heads.

I like to take my time in a museum. I wander and explore. Discovery is the great joy of the experience. Large crowds make that difficult, but they layout of this space allowed for freedom of movement after the first two rooms, so I was only mildly annoyed. Except for the lady I will call the path Nazi. She made me walk around a table counter clockwise because it “helped the flow of traffic”. It was an odd thing to ask since I was the only one interested in a close-up of the Edward Scissorhands costume.

I enjoyed the exhibit. Nightmare Before Christmas is my favorite Burton films. The exhibit has the hanging tree on display. The detail is amazing. I also found that the display of his journals was fascinating. I read a page from Beetlejuice – it was captivating.

The exhibit shows work from his earliest stages of development. Burton is lucky his teachers did not turn him in to Homeland Security as a potential serial killer. His work at a young age was creepy. It got better (and creepier) with age.

Burton is also a photographer. His work is interesting. He take polaroids of natural subjects and alters the subject fit his artistic style. The effect is arresting. I would have bought one if they were for sale. 

People watching was the highpoint of the event for me. Apparently, there are a lot of Emo and Goth types into Burton. I had a great deal of fun just tripping on the oddities walking around the exhibit.

I enjoyed the experience and suggest it for anybody as a great family outing. The show runs through October 31. Enjoy

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