Tim Burton exhibit at MoMA
Entrance to the Tim Burton exhibit at the MoMA
As a suburbanite, I know Tim Burton isn’t our biggest fan. He doesn’t make us look so good in Edward Scissorhands or Sleepy Hollow (whose whole point seems to be that bad things happen when you leave the city for Westchester). But suburbanites seem to love him, otherwise Hot Topic wouldn’t have been invented and stocked with all his merchandise.
I happen to be a huge fan, so when I found out that the city’s Museum of Modern Art was hosting a Tim Burton retrospective, I jumped on the chance to go. (In fact, I’ve gone twice now, and both times I ran into classmates from my high school, further proving my theory that suburbanites are Burton’s biggest fans.) When they say retrospective, they really mean it: At the exhibition, you can find some of Burton’s childhood drawings and school projects. But there you can also see his personal sketches, paintings, drawings, and sculptures, including a series of very Burtonesque scary clowns, pictures that express his dissatisfaction as a Disney animator, and even a video installation showing his little-seen adaptation of “Hansel and Gretel” reimagined as a kung-fu movie. Every work in the exhibition showcases Burton’s twisted, gothic style. The last room features cool props from his movies, in case you ever wanted to check out Sweeney Todd’s razor blades up close. (Not too close — they’re sharp!)
Admission to the exhibition is $20, and you have to buy a timed ticket. I suggest you go early in the day, because it fills up pretty quickly with people lingering over the twisted artifacts. There are also Burton movie screenings throughout the month, and they’re included with the price of admission. (C’mon, you know you want to see Pee Wee’s Big Adventure on the big screen again.)
Alice in Wonderland photos © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved
But if you don’t want to stay for the free MoMA screenings, I suggest that, after you wander around the Tim Burton exhibition, you go see his new film: Alice in Wonderland. And, it couldn’t be more convenient: Right across the street from the MoMA is the Ziegfeld Theater, the best movie theater in all of New York City. The single-screen gem recalls the movie palaces of old, with plush red carpeting and seats in an auditorium that can hold 1,000 people. They really don’t make ’em like that any more. Lucky for us, the theater is showing Alice in Wonderland in three glorious dimensions. The biggest drawback is the price: since it’s New York City and in 3D, one ticket will set you back $15.75.
But, it seems that people think it’s worth it. Alice made a whopping $116 million in its first weekend. That means it’s the most successful opening for a non-sequel movie ever. (Yes, even the mighty Avatar only made $77 million its first weekend.) Critics haven’t been as enthusiastic, but my theory is that critics, who are writers at heart, love the Lewis Carroll books too much to give a movie — especially a crazy Tim Burton semi-retelling, semi-sequel — a fair shot.
So if you’re planning on a trip to the city to do a Burton/Burton double feature, go quickly: the exhibition is only around until April 26, and Alice in Wonderland leaves theaters in twelve weeks. The details:
The Museum of Modern Art
11 W. 53rd St.
New York, NY
141 W. 54th St.
New York, NY