Tim Burton at the MoMA

Guest post by teen journalist Francesca Michel

Last week I went to the Tim Burton exhibition at the MoMA. Held in a surprisingly small space, the exhibition displays 800+ images, ranging from big works that Burton did, such as pieces from the set of Edward Scissorhands, to smaller stuff like his sketches from college. The pieces that I enjoyed seeing were the ones that related most to the real world, where Burton makes the viewer question the innocence of people in general, and more specifically children.

Many of his depictions of children, though made in a child-friendly style with quotes and animation, are very adult-like in the sense that these children are either in corrupt situations or are corrupt in their own way. One of the more blatant examples of this is a piece that shows a baby who is thinking about adult issues – money, love, death, the unknown – and saying, “… I’m too young to be thinking about these things…”. Innocence is an interesting issue especially because it is so subjective and it is used as a way to judge people, but Burton’s works show the impurity in everything.

Clearly, growing up in Burbank, LA, where he felt that his own impurities, and strange ways of viewing and being part of the world, were not accepted, had a big influence on him, and that’s reflected in his work. I recommend this exhibit, not only to my teen peers, but to anyone who is a Tim Burton fan, and anyone interested in seeing the world from a perspective like no other.

Through April 26, 2010.

Frankie Michel is a teenager living in New York City.  She participates in an internship with the education department at the Museum of Modern Art.