Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hurtin' for Burton

My friend Stephanie texted me on Tuesday to see if I wanted to go with her to the Tim Burton exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).  I had been spending way too much time on my computer, so I jumped at the chance.  I am so glad I did.

I had never before thought of Tim Burton as an individual artist, working independently.  This exhibit showed me a whole new, yet familiar, side to Burton.  He is a surprisingly prolific artist - the exhibit is huge!  He certainly does not have cable, I can tell you that.  No one with cable could be so impressively productive. 
The exhibit starts with works from his teenage years in Burbank, including art class projects with teachers’ notes (I love that he saved things like that) and continues into his movie-making years. Most of the pieces are from Burton’s private collection.  One would think that images from under Burton’s bed would be grim and gruesome, but he treats everything with such humor and whimsy that nothing was disturbing to me at all.
I spend a lot of time in museums and art galleries, viewing all kinds of art. What I appreciated most about this exhibit was the utter uniqueness of each piece displayed.  There is virtually nothing in Burton’s work, save the eyeball, that actually exists. His works are pure creation.  Pure imagination.    
I would highly recommend this to anyone in the LA area.  It runs until October 31st (appropriately), so you have plenty of time.
Although I would have loved to show you photos from the exhibit, no photography was allowed inside.  So, before I head over to Netflix to add all of Burton’s movies to my queue, I will leave you with a poem by the man himself:
Robot Boy
Mr. and Mrs. Smith had a wonderful life.
They were a normal, happy husband and wife.
One day they got news that made Mr. Smith glad.
Mrs. Smith would be a mom
which would make him the dad!
But something was wrong with their bundle of joy.
It wasn't human at all,
it was a robot boy!
He wasn't warm and cuddly
and he didn't have skin.
Instead there was a cold, thin layer of tin.
There were wires and tubes sticking out of his head.
He just lay there and stared,
not living or dead.
The only time he seemed alive at all
was with a long extension cord
plugged into the wall.
Mr. Smith yelled at the doctor,
"What have you done to my boy?
He's not flesh and blood,
he's aluminum alloy!"
The doctor said gently,
"What I'm going to say
will sound pretty wild.
But you're not the father
of this strange looking child.
You see, there still is some question
about the child's gender,
but we think that its father
is a microwave blender."
The Smith's lives were now filled
with misery and strife.
Mrs. Smith hated her husband,
and he hated his wife.
He never forgave her unholy alliance:
a sexual encounter
with a kitchen appliance.
And Robot Boy
grew to be a young man.
Though he was often mistaken
for a garbage can.

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