In an art museum, do we really need to see baby Penguin’s black-wicker pram from “Batman,” Catwoman’s shredded polyurethane cat suit or the fluffy angora sweater used as a fetishistic prop in “Ed Wood”? Such dark or peculiar items are often outward signs of their character’s concealed inner life; but that’s catalog essay interpretation, not exhibition material. You get the feeling they’re only here to satisfy the paying movie fans. Sometimes the display looks like the Arclight Cinema lobby on steroids. Toss in assorted puppets and a few toy-like sculptures, such as a suspended flying-saucer carousel illuminated by black-lights, and the quotient of celebrity self-indulgence climbs.
The show is a wondrous experience, a walk inside the head of the dark, surreal fantasy genius featuring everything from movie props and get-ups (Catwoman and Edward Scissorhands costumes) to sketches for films such as The Nightmare Before Christmas and Alice in Wonderland to fine art inspired by or that influenced his work.
Burton explains the exhibit in his own words to the Wall Street Journal.
The biggest compliment I’ve gotten so far is from people that don’t usually go to museums. It makes people realize that anything is possible. I think that one the things that made it acceptable is it’s not something that was ever meant to really be…but I think the curators did a good job in sort of not making it to like it’s great artwork but this is somebody’s process. It’s great to me to inspire people – to keep drawing, even if they think they can’t do it – to show that you don’t have to be the greatest artist in the world – if you like it, that’s the important thing.