Art November 16, 2009 By Nana Asfour
timburton cover Tim Burton
Blue Girl with Wine, Tim Burton.

     But it wasn’t all wasted time. Before he entirely broke free he directed his first animated short, Vincent. While the audience to the MoMA retrospective is likely to revel — and find some revelation — in the artworks, objects, and made-for-the-museum sculptures (including the twenty-one-foot-tall, blue “Balloon Boy” that has been erected next to the garden’s entrance) on view, the best part of the show will undoubtedly be the chance to watch Vincent and other earlier Burton forays into film. For many Burton fans, the screenings of Burton’s oeuvres will remind us of what we try very hard to forget: that the director’s first realized feature was none other than Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. And yet, considered from the perspective of the thirteen films that have followed it, one would be amiss not to acknowledge the foundational element of that work. In it, Burton established his cinematic vision, narrative voice, hyper-realistic visuals and major theme: the character at odds with his surroundings, something the director personally experienced growing up in the anesthetic suburb of Burbank in the late fifties and early sixties. For some who have been privy to his non-cinematic artistry, this hats-off moment to Burton will seem like a long time coming. “What he has is a very special gift that we don’t see every day,” his frequent collaborator and star Johnny Depp once declared, going on to proclaim Burton as a “genius…in not just film, but drawings, photographs, thought, insight, and ideas.” These words were uttered in 1994. A decade and a half later, they, and the works, will be up for scrutiny

The retrospective will be on display from November 22, 2009 – April 26, 2010.

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