I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Big Night

That Pixar kid did good. There are an estimated four hundred people from Pixar who made the trip to New York to be part of this night. The 22 degree weather, holiday shopping season foot and car traffic didn't slow any of them down from converging at the Moma on West 53rd in their heavy coats and scarves. This is the culmination of months of preparation from all parties involved from either coast in mounting the exhibit and the celebration of two decades of steady, nose to the the grindstone work by artisans from a little company that could from San Francisco.

Pixar's resident "shy guy" spoke at the premiere of Pixar's latest animated short screening to start things off. As creative founding father, John Lasseter speaks in the very voice that Pixar has come to stand for for all audiences: The man is one of us. "As I stood here tonight I realize that, man, we're at the Moma! Along with all these great artists of our modern age...We better hurry before they realize they made a big mistake." That personal check of reality and ability to have fun with it anyway is just the way Pixar culture is. It seems to say that we don't know how this is done but we can have a great time anyway. And for a company that hadn't done animated features when it started it has become the only company who seem to have inherited the magic of making them from now on.

Walking the exhibit halls of giant canvasses of Jasper Johns and the like, Pixar's exhibit is a clear shift in tone and intent. Done mostly on paper the pieces are all the hand made work that nobody sees in person. Chalk, charcoal, watercolor, pen and pencil. Even the digital illustrations are about the creator's hand doing the heavy lifting. And where most galleries would require the contemplative mein when you face the artwork, here people break into wide open smiles and pointing--the charm of the animation artist's character's at work.

People huddle close around the zoetrope. Inspired by the Studio Ghibli zoetrope in its ode to hand drawn animation museum in Mitaka.

The piece de resistance is on the upper floor in a dark room. There will be two offerings there to inspire awe but the little marvel is a in half round glass case. The lights will go up to reveal the cast of Toy Story in multiples of themselves. In-betweens. But they are little sculptures, figurines in acting poses! From Woody and Buzz to the green aliens, the plastic army men and even Wheezy the toy penguin. All frozen in place, arrayed in merry-go-round fashion. The turn table spins to blurr them into ghosts then...the strobe lights hit. Voila! They come alive and move right before your very eyes. Woody rides Bullseye as it prances around rodeo style, Buzz stands tall on a ball and bounces as the army men perpetually parachutes from their plastic tub. You can stare at this for hours but the lights go down on this show as the ones behind you go up to set your sights on the wide wall. Soon that very wall becomes a screen and you are treated to wondrous fly through of the world of preproduction art, literally through the pastel layers and conte crayon sketches. An after effects wonder created by Andy Jimenez and sound design by Gary Rydstrom. Mezmerizing, confirming once again how the artist's hand at work in actual media begins the magic.

Turn around quick! Soaring through artwork in the Artscape presentation. Makes you wanna draw, is all I'm saying. That shaggy sillo second from the right is of world famous Andrew Stanton, just in case you were wonderin'.

You may notice that there is a severe shortage of photos from inside the museum itself. I took pictures but the whole point is to see it for yourself. And there's no sense in diluting that impact. The exhibit will start today, December 14 and will last till February 6 next year. You got time. I'm going back sometime this week to see it with a regular audience so I can people watch.

Next post...The Party after.


Pixar at the Moma


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh - my - gosh. Let's see, how much is a rt ticket to NY??? I think I know someone who has to see this. :)

Tell us, Ronnie, did you have pieces in the show???

9:05 AM

Blogger Dork 4 said...

Zowza--I can't wait to see the show when I'm in town this weekend. The zootrope alone is worth the (newly crazy) price of admission.

Hey, if you're staying at the Hudson you should check out the Burger Shack for lunch--it's a weird hidden greasy-spoon in the lobby of the chic Le Park Merdien hotel--sort of like that love-shack tiki room you'v got at Pixar. Between 6/7th and 56th/57th (the hotel runs the block) I think.

2:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn you guys are full of yourselves.

2:54 PM

Blogger Amelia Lorenz said...

OHH! Why don't they do that at the SF MOMA!!
Thanks so much for the pictures


3:35 PM

Blogger Benjamin De Schrijver said...

OHH! Why don't they do that in Europe! ;)

Thanks for the pictures... I wish I was there. I love your description about the contemplation vs. the joy when watching "regular" and animation art.

4:59 PM

Blogger Chad Kerychuk said...

Despite loving the province I live in, it really sucks that I can't see any of these great shows. The MOMA exhibit sounds fantastic and I'd love to see that zoetrope in action!

Glad you're able to enjoying the trip. You guys deserve the praise and the small working vacation!

2:25 AM

Blogger Daniel Chappelle said...

Lasseter lecture is SOLD OUT. Even for MoMA members, which I am one of.
Anyone with extra tix - please email me at madmanmagic@mac.com


1:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just went to MoMA today to check out the Pixar exhibit. Yay for Target free Fridays.

I really liked everything that they had on display. Though, I didn't see anything from you. Kinda sad because I can't make it out to Cali for Three Trees and I was hoping to see something of yours there. The video was really well done and the zeotrope was slick. The Pixar exhibit as a whole is really good and makes me respect Pixar's work even more.

Have fun in NY!

7:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Tom Sito

Dear Ronnie, I was in the Big Apple for my own gallery opening at the School of Visual Arts and I saw the Moma SHow. Bravo to all the gang. It made me so proud to see cartoon folk who are old comrades up on the walls with Rothko and Pollock. It was espeically poignant to see Joe Ranfts name. I wish he could have seen it. For the gal who wished it was in SF, I heard the show is scheduled to tour after Feb,and will wind up there eventually. In the mean time, if you are on that side of the Mississippi, I reccomend all see it. Please congradulate all der Pixar- People on a terrific show. Merry Christmas too!

11:03 AM

Blogger Nabeel said...

you were able to go to the Pixar exhibition ?? .. NICEEEEE ..

Now let me ask you this .. could you buy a print from there? if yes then from where and how much


12:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I wish I could have attended that show. I am a fan of classical animation, and not a huge fan of the waves of new animated shows and cartoons, but I always have to respect the work that pixar has produced. Im also a big fan of conceptual art and the making process, so as far as I'm concerned, this show would have been great! Thanks for the preview!

8:06 PM


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