Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Opens Tim Burton Exhibition

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents Tim Burton, a major retrospective exploring the full range of Tim Burton’s creative work, both as a director of live-action and animated films, and as an artist, illustrator, photographer, and writer. Taking inspiration from popular culture, fairy tales, and traditions of the gothic, Burton has reinvented Hollywood genre filmmaking as an expression of a personal vision. Open May 29-October 31, 2011.

Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The exhibition brings together more than 700 drawings, paintings, photographs, film and video works, storyboards, puppets, concept artworks, maquettes, costumes, and cinematic ephemera, including art from a number of unrealized and little-known personal projects. The exhibition was organized by Ron Magliozzi,Assistant Curator, and Jenny He, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Film, with Rajendra Roy, the Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film, The Museum of Modern Art.

At LACMA, the exhibition is organized by Britt Salvesen, Department Head and Curator of the Wallis Annenberg Department of Photography, and Department Head and Curator of Prints and Drawings. Salvesen states: “This exhibition shows the full range of Tim Burton’s extraordinary creativity. Most people have a good sense of his style, but seeing the show demonstrates how persistent his vision is and how evident it was from very early on, before he was even thinking about making full-scale feature films. Many of his recurring themes stem from childhood and adolescence and combine a unique mixture of horror and humor.”

Born in Burbank in 1958, Tim Burton was heavily influenced by popular culture. Themes derived from advertising, science fiction, horror films, children’s literature and toys, holiday rituals, cartoons, and comic strips are reflected in his work. The exhibition also establishes Burton’s kinship with a generation of contemporary artists—many from Southern California like Burton himself—who have taken inspiration from similar sources. After studying at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), he worked as an animator at the Walt Disney Studios before breaking out on his own.

Many of the works in the exhibition 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 drawings, paintings, sculptures, and sketchbooks will be joined by a selection of domestic and international film posters from his feature films, accompanied by music specifically composed for the exhibition by Burton’s longtime collaborator Danny Elfman. Also included will be film props and a selection of large-scale Polaroids created by Burton, as well as virtually unseen films— including early student films.

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