Tim Burton Show at Seoul’s Museum of Art (SeMA)


Tim Burton arrives for his first visit in Korea ever to promote his show ~ pic via Korea Herald

Tim Burton arrives for his first visit in Korea ever to promote his show ~ pic via Korea Herald

This year Seoul’s Museum of Art (SeMA) became the FINAL host to the amazing Tim Burton show put together by the MoMA!  The show originally launched in New York during 2009 and was met with amazing success~ currently it holds record for the third most visited show in MoMA ever.  Since then it has been all over the world before making it’s final stop here in Korea!

The show had 862 pieces of his original work on display~ early high school projects, college work, doodles ripped from sketchbooks, concept drawings, you name it! It was like exploring his young mind and watching who he was take form~ you could often see doodles of things that would return in some way years later within his movies!  They had several rooms, including a large one to display dozens of movie props from this films, it seems almost everything he worked on was represented!

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Something extra cool about this show here in Korea~ For the Seoul show, SeMA curators worked with MoMA curators to add approximately 100 new works including a new section devoted to the director’s latest movie “Frankenweenie.”

I personally was very interested to see this exhibit as an artist and fan, so I am really glad I had an opportunity to view it here in Korea at SeMA.  I am an 80′s child and grew up with a lot of his work~ the original Frankenweenie, Beetlejuice, Peewee’s big adventure, and I remember seeing Nightmare before Christmas as a little kid in the theaters and from that moment on it was a favorite of mine.  I am not a die-hard, but I enjoy a lot of his current work and signature style….the artist part of me likes other artists that have a kind of style consistency to the work they do~  even if I do not enjoy a particular movie he has worked on I can always see his stamp someplace in the production or designs and I respect him a lot for that.

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I was also eager to view his early work as a student and see if his set style now was apparent even way back when!

The show ran from December 12, 2012 – April 14, 2013  but due to work we kept putting it off till it was down to the final week of the exhibit *_* Nara was too busy to attend, but thankfully my friend Yuri also wanted to go and we had a free weekday to slip in and attempt to miss the crowds since we were sure it would be PACKED on the weekend.

As soon as we hit the entrance I had a good feeling about this show~

Spring came late this year so while the show was going on all the trees still had no leaves from winter, it kinda worked out perfectly and gave the entrance a neat creepy vibe!  Did you plan that Tim Burton? lol


Even though we came on a weekday it was still really crowded!

Time to grab our tickets!

Tickets ran 12,000 won for this event~ not too bad considering how huge it was

The inside of SeMA was amazing! It did not disappoint!

Really nice creepy entrance to the main show!

Time to enter!  After this hallway photography was not allowed…but I did ninja just a small amount for you guys to see a tiny bit of what it was like because I am naughty lol


The exhibition was divided into three parts~ 

Part 1: Surviving Burbank which covered his early years from 1958 to 1976.

Part 2: Beautifying Burbank which covered the years 1977 to 1984 including his time with Cal Arts and Walt Disney.

Part 3: Beyond Burbank which covered his most productive years from 1985 to the present.

One of his very early projects from High School!

Very early concept doodles for Edward Scissorhands

This random glow room was amazing *_* just like some sort of creepy spinning carousel~  is this a movie prop or from anything?  Yuri and I could not recall, but it was really cool!

In one of the exhibit rooms they had a corner roped off to screen a very early Tim Burton feature (I think from the late 80s or very early 90′s) as well as a short live action film  he did that only aired once in 1982 on Disney , “Hansel and Gretel”. It was extremely bizarre, painfully slow, and for some reason the cast was all Japanese and the evil mother was cross dressed and had on like a weird old school Japanese wig that almost looked like sumo hair lmao.

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It was so odd and weird, but still resembled his work complete with appearances of his trademark stripe curling trees~  Super WTF, someone link me if it is online because I could not find it.  Read info about it HERE

The clock was an amazing prop from the movie, I wish I could have snagged a better pic of it~

In the following room they had the original storyboards from the 1982 film on display~ they were very colorful and interesting! I could see what he mentally had in mind for the short film a little better that the budget (or effects at the time maybe) did not execute as well lol  when Hansel and Gretel ate the witch’s house in the movie it was really gross (all this rainbow goo ran out) but in the boards it looked really awesome haha.

Final room in the show was filled with movie props. SO sad I could not at least take photos in this room~ because it had amazing pieces from almost every movie he worked on.  Not large collections, but at least 1-5 cool pieces.  Edward’s outfit, Sweeney Todd’s razor set, figures fro Mars Attacks, Batman’s mask, and many more~

Vincent price is pretty awesome!

outside the exhibition rooms they had plenty of things up to take photos with~

as well as a giant wall of human-sized doodles! Everyone enjoyed taking photos with these characters the most!

Yuri found a new boyfriend!

Outta mah face creepy batman! Sadly it was rainy and freezing outside so I was sloppy and did not dress up themed for this event… major regrets now! Anyway~

On the top floor they also had a decent gift shop filled with Tim Burton items~  art prints, postcards, vinyl figures from his book series, and DVDs mainly.  The DVDs seemed to be quite popular, I think many Koreans were unaware of a lot of his other older films so it was a good chance to buy them.

They had an art book for sale special for the event, but it was extremely disappointing… just a few sketches used on the postcards as well, and they were not particularly interesting so sadly I decided not to buy~ although honestly I was ready to throw down a large sum for a nice book of concepts from this event :/ especially since photos were not allowed and all that. blah.

Stick Boy and Match Girl figures complete with a little matchbox

After we finished we went to go grab some dinner and it got dark.  On our walk back we passed the building and the huge Jack art illuminated through the trees~ it was an amazing surprise!

For those of you who could not make it to the show, I am happy to tell you that MoMA has uploaded a LOT of the original show pieces online so you can view them on the official site HERE

Did you have a chance to see this show in Seoul or in some other part of the world? What was your favorite part?  What is your favorite movie Tim Burton worked on over the years?  Comment below!

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