LACMA’s Tim Burton exhibit opens door into a mysterious mind

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LACMA’s Tim Burton exhibit opens door into a mysterious mind

Caitlin Trude

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The open mouth of one of his characters serves as the entrance to Tim Burton's exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Creative Commons Photo by Flickr user brandon shigeta.

The open mouth of one of his characters serves as the entrance to Tim Burton’s exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Creative Commons Photo by Flickr user brandon shigeta.

The man behind the magic? His name is Tim Burton, whose work is being showcased in his own exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through October 31.

Known for its display of cutting-edge art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (also known as the LACMA) has transformed the Resnick Pavilion into a gallery which currently pays homage to a variety of Burton’s work, made famous throughout his professional career.

Without giving away too much about the exhibit, I will tell you that it is an unforgettable experience, and for art enthusiasts who believe that a picture is worth a thousand words, there are well over 700 for you to indulge. And I can guarantee that even those who find themselves disturbed by Burton will be intrigued by Burton’s history, artwork, and inspirations.

Inside the pavilion you will notice that even the entrance into the exhibit alone is a work of art. To get to the rest of the exhibit, you will stride across an Alice in Wonderland-esque chessboard floor leading to the oversized open jaws of one of Burton’s zany characters serving as the doorway into the first gallery.

The beginning of the gallery features some of Burton’s earliest sketches of the characterizations of “Edward Scissorhands” and the Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland” and 3-D structures of others that never quite made it to the big screen. You will be fascinated by the evolution of these characters, compared to how some are actually portrayed in the films.

Next door, an entire room is dedicated to the drawings and projects Burton was involved with during his childhood. You will see samples of Burton’s amusing homemade stop-motion videos that he created while growing up in Burbank. Also featured in this room are Burton’s early comic strips as well as an anti-littering poster he designed in high school which won a local design contest.

One of the highlights of the experience is getting a glimpse of what was going on inside Burton’s mind by observing the paintings he completed prior to his successful film career. Burton went through a couple of artistic phases, which included painting numerous pieces revolving clowns, outer space, pirates, and more. Each piece is, to put it bluntly, weird, but they display visually appealing explosions of color.

Burton’s preference for dark humor is no secret, and at the LACMA, entire walls feature drawings showcasing it. Some of Burton’s pieces also humorously reflect the tension that he felt while working as a Disney animator, due to his opposing artistic style.

A few props from “Beetlejuice” and “Batman” are set up in the exhibit, yet I found Edward Scissorhand’s attire donned by Johnny Depp in the film far more interesting. “Edward Scissorhands” was the film that began Burton and Depp’s professional relationship and lifelong friendship.

Some other popular Burton movies that are displayed include “Planet of the Apes,” “Mars Attacks!,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “Big Fish,” and more. While I wish that the “Sleepy Hollow” and “Sweeney Todd” sections were more extensive, the pieces from the films that are presented still suffice.

The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Corpse Bride,” both family favorites, are the most detailed sections out of the films in the exhibit. Early scripts, storyboards, conceptions, sculptures, photography, and sketches adorn these sections’ walls, and if you’re like me, you will spend a good amount of time taking it all in.

Visitors to the exhibit will be able to explore lesser known projects Burton was involved with, such as “The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy” and “The Island of Doctor Agor,” to name a few. Here, you will also get a quick look at upcoming Burton projects.

One of the few drawbacks is that photography is prohibited within the exhibit. Fortunately, you will be able to capture memories that day which will last a long time. Also, because it is nearing Halloween season, the exhibit may be filled with multiple fellow Burton fans, but not overly crowded.

So why spend yet another Halloween stockpiling candy when you can check out an exhibit dedicated to the man who practically revolutionized the holiday? Reserve your tickets now. General admission tickets are $20, and admission is free for visitors seventeen and younger.

What do you think?