|Don't know why I didn't pose inside the mouth. |
Too excited to be smart, I guess.
September 26, 2011— I’m not a big fan of the term fan. Sometimes I use it to avoid sounding like a jerk, but I really prefer words like appreciate, admire, even venerate. To me, the term fan somehow seems to degrade the space between artist and audience. Then I walked into the Tim Burton Exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I’m such a stupid fan.
I mean, I’ve always dug Burton’s work, and up until about Mars Attacks! felt I could actively defend the inclination. Since that time, though, and with the exception of maybe Sweeney Todd and Sleepy Hollow (and only the visuals of the latter), his movies have ranged from erratic to underwhelming to downright bad. Worse, many of them have failed to evoke that Burtonesque sense of oddity that makes his best films so unique. Still, I’ll always have some kind of faith in anybody who can make a movie like Edward Scissorhands or Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure or Beetlejuice or The Nightmare Before Christmas or Ed Wood.
|Not Burton's work, but weird enough to include.|
Unfortunately, they don’t allow pictures within the exhibit proper, but there are photo ops scattered around the museum and just outside the exhibit, all of which I’ve included in this article. Minus the Edward Scissorhands glove, of course, which my much bolder friend snagged a pic of with his phone despite the gaggle of guards converging on his location. Apparently, yelling “Sandworm!” wasn’t enough of a distraction. My bad, man.
|This would be one of the artifacts I would want |
in my own personal Ark of the Covenant
Although some of that section tended to the overly sentimental, a few of the artifacts from his early life were fascinating, most notably the fully realized children’s book he wrote, illustrated, laid out, and mailed off when he was in high school to his future employer Disney in the hopes that they would publish it, and the encouraging and thoughtful rejection letter that they sent back.
At that point, the exhibit became an art gallery of his drawings and paintings that included about an equal amount of standalone pieces and pieces connected to his films, most in that black-and-white-striped, whimsically proportioned style that is unmistakably Burton and which reinforced my feeling that he should be making films about his original characters and ideas instead of recycling monkey sapiens, mad hatters, and Oompa-Loompas.
However, it was the movie props that really turned me into a stuttering, arm-waving fan and made me kind of relieved that they had outlawed photography, since I would have spent hours documenting every square inch of costume and prop in the entire exhibit.
I’ve seen the eyeballs of Large Marge (all eight or so of them, each differently sized to maintain proportion to the stop-motion-animated clay face) and met the character models from his short film and Vincent Price homage Vincent. I’ve peeked into the baby carriage of the Penguin, peered into the jaws of a sandworm, and much more. I’ve even seen the severed heads of Pierce Brosnan and Sarah Jessica Parker, although that’s surprisingly never really been on my list.
Honestly, I didn’t want to leave the exhibit, even to go to the La Brea Tar Pits next door. It's officially one of the coolest things I've experienced in my travels, although that's such an extremely subjective statement I should probably edit it out. Nevertheless, seeing it rejuvenated my appreciation for Tim Burton’s work and vision. I just hope he gets back to that vision at some point.