Tim Burton's 'nightmares' become hit museum exhibit

Tim Burton's 'nightmares' become hit museum exhibit

"Frankenweenie," Oompa Loompas and a lost Disney film come together for the Seoul leg of the hit MoMA show
Approximately 100 works from the director's archives have been added for the Seoul exhibit.

Sketches of tiny hairy monsters. Michelle Pfeiffer’s torn Catwoman costume. Tragic figurines from “The Nightmare before Christmas.”

Featuring works from his childhood and spanning the director's prolific career, the MoMA Tim Burton exhibition opened at the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) on Wednesday, December 12, following popular shows in New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, Melbourne and Paris.  

Sponsored by Hyundai Card, this is the final stop on what the director himself calls a “worldwide extravaganza.”

The original exhibition in New York was the third most visited show in MoMA history after the Picasso and Matisse shows.

New show 

The Tim Burton exhibit shows all sorts of handmade whimsical monsters.
For the Seoul show, SeMA curators worked with MoMA curators to add approximately 100 new works.

A total of 860 pieces will be on display at SeMA, including a group of Oompa Loompas and a new section devoted to the director’s latest comic horror movie, “Frankenweenie.”

The exhibit displays art, sculptures and films that include shorts and commercials -- some so obscure that even die-hard fans won't recognize them.

“We’re very excited that we’re showing 'Hansel and Gretel' in an Asian country,” said MoMA curator Ron Magliozzi, referring to a “lost film” with an all-Asian cast that Disney produced and showed only once.

Dark visions

At times, the show is like a peep into a teenager’s desk, featuring neon childish doodles and hastily written notes, while other sections, such as the Batman series in the final hall, pay homage to a very adult darkness.

“It was very strange for me to see this exhibition come together,” said Burton, who flew to Seoul for the exhibit opening and press conference.

The director said that he would walk around the empty gallery and marvel that his scribbles ended up on gallery walls.

“It is very hard for me to watch my own movies, so it was even stranger to show these things that no one was meant to see,” said Burton. “I feel so close to each thing.” 

December 12-April 14; Seoul Museum of Art, 37 Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul; +82 2 2124 8800; Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; ₩12,000 (US$11); sema.seoul.go.kr

More on CNN: 5 art exhibitions worth standing in line for 

Frances Cha is a Digital Producer at CNN Travel. 


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