Wednesday, September 29, 2010

PIXAR: 25 Years of Animation

PIXAR: 25 Years of AnimationThis afternoon I visited the Oakland Museum to see the PIXAR exhibit. I've actually been excited to see this, but was waiting for the summer crowds to go away. It's a large show of the preliminary art for the Pixar films. Much of it is still done by hand. There are finished works in pencil, pastel, oil, gouache, acrylic & collage. I really liked the wall-sized colorscripts, which are high-level story boards showing the over-all mood & color scheme of an entire movie. Lou Romano's colorscript for The Incredibles is strikingly bold, with its flat colors & nearly abstract style.

I was especially eager to see the 3D Pixar Zoetrope. It is a turntable about 6 feet across, carrying life-size models of Toy Story characters. Once the turntable spins up, a strobe light comes on, & the models jump to life. It's magic. The Pixar Artscape installation is a 15 minute film projected on a screen about 5 times as wide as it is tall. It evokes the landscapes of the Pixar films, & one feels immersed in a richly textured world.

The show really has a lot, & there are many gems. I love the satirical drawing by Dominque R. Louis of Sullivan as a hairy blue monster in glasses & a tie, looking like a corporate drone. Neftali Alvarez's model of Carl Fredricksen's house is complete from all sides, even the bottom. Simón Vladimir Varela drew eerie seascapes in charcoal for Nemo. Videos provide behind-the-scenes glimpses of the artists & the production process.

The young children I saw seemed to enjoy running through the maze-like galleries more than looking at the art. Their behavior confirms that Pixar's target audience is really adults.

PIXAR: 25 Years of Animation
Oakland Museum of California
July 31 - January 9, 2011

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