Current Exhibition October 20, 2023 – February 4, 2024
Tim Burton, director and artist, is widely regarded as one of cinema’s most imaginative and visual filmmakers. Burton grew up in Burbank, California and attended the newly opened California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). As one of the earliest students of the famed Character Animation Program, his work attracted the attention of Walt Disney Productions and gained him an apprenticeship at the studio.
In 1982, while there, he directed his first short, Vincent, a 6-minute black-and-white stop motion film based on a poem by Burton and narrated by his hero, Vincent Price. During his time with Disney, he also directed the 1983 kung fu–inspired short film adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, and the 1984 live-action short film Frankenweenie, which would later be remade as a feature-length stop motion film in 2012.
Over the years, Burton has achieved both critical and commercial success in the live-action and animation genres. 2007’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street won the Golden Globe for Best Film—Musical or Comedy and earned Burton a National Board of Review award for his directing work. Many of his films – such as Ed Wood (1994), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Big Fish (2003), and Alice in Wonderland (2010) – have garnered numerous Academy Awards, BAFTA, and Golden Globe nominations and wins, cementing his status as one of the greatest film makers of our time.
He has a dedicated following, notably for classic features such as his 1985 directorial debut and unexpected comedic hit, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure; the wildly inventive Beetlejuice (1988); the action blockbuster Batman (1989); and its follow-up Batman Returns (1992). Perhaps his greatest industry achievement is helping to reinvigorate the stop-motion industry, starting with his 1993 creation and cult classic Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas; followed by the 2005’s Corpse Bride and 2012’s Frankenweenie, the latter two both Academy Award and BAFTA–nominated films. Arguably though, his most beloved film is the 1990 romantic fantasy Edward Scissorhands—directed, co-written and produced by Burton. The film also marked the start of his successful cinematic partnership with Johnny Depp, who delivered a poignant performance in the title role of the quintessential “Burtonesque” film.
Long before becoming a director, Burton expressed himself through drawing, painting, and photography, all of which have became an integral part of his creative process which he continues to pursue to this day. His extensive library of artworks has been documented in books including the beloved illustrated series of poetry The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories and things you think about in a bar: The Napkin Art of Tim Burton – a book of sketches, doodled on napkins collected from his travels. It is a look in the mind of a man who is always on the road, ever observant of the strange world around him. The book is a mini-companion to his 2009 release, The Art of Tim Burton, a 430-page volume comprising more than 40 years of his personal and professional artwork.
Coinciding with its release, the Museum of Modern Art opened an extensive exhibition of his work in New York, which went on to tour in Melbourne, Toronto, Los Angeles, Paris, and Seoul. A second exhibition of his artwork, The World of Tim Burton, has been presented in Prague, Tokyo, Osaka, Brühl, São Paulo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Genk, Mexico City, and continues to tour internationally.
Dreamland | Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
August 17, 2023 – January 14, 2024
Be our ghoul of honor at an exhibition hosted by creatures lured from the depths of the McNay Art Museum’s collection.
A new Tim Burton exhibition called “Dreamland” is opening at the McNay to celebrate the 30th anniversary of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
Visitors can step into the world of Burton through Jan. 14, 2024, at the McNay Art Museum, located at 6000 N New Braunfels Avenue.