25 Years of Pixar, A Review of the Oakland Exhibit That Kicks Ass!

The current Pixar exhibit (at the Oakland Museum) is one of the best I have seen at a contemporary art museum since the Todd Schorr solo in San Jose. This show is a ”significantly enhanced” version of the exhibition, which is returning home to Oakland after a world tour that began at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2005. Kind of sad that it didn’t begin here, since Pixar is right next door to Oaktown in Emeryville, but it’s hard to compete with MOMA’s draw. It should have opened right here in their own hood, then it would have been a true homecoming. Hats off to the Oakland Museum curators, for taking the helm to steer this museum in a much needed, fresh and new direction. (Support the place – spend some money there!)

Jessie!.. still in love with her, even after all these years…

This is a large, very solid show – full of room after room of 25 years of wonderful art. Original sketches, paintings, models and storyboards from all the wonderful Pixar animated endeavors. Pencil sketches, watercolors, oils, digital paintings, sculpture, charcoal, pastels – you name it, all your fave Pixar creations in every media imaginable. Beautiful sketches and renderings of tons of characters, from Buzz to Ratatouille.

The darkened room encasing the “Toy Story Zoetrope,” (above) is a knock-out, really enlightens one on the essence of animation and how it all works. It comprises a 3D turntable populated by the Toy Story figures in carefully sequenced postures that spring to life when it all spins under the strobe lights. Leave yourself at least 15 minutes to stare in wonder at this puppy.

This Bug’s Life art is titled as a pencil drawing!  Unbelievable rendering.
Roz in all her glory… did you fill out your paperwork?

When you go, make sure you leave enough time to see everything, at the very least - two hours…  And you may want to book your tickets ahead, they are admitting in intervals to keep the crowds down. When I went the pace was perfect, not too crowded, although the girl at the ticket desk could have used another helper.

The charcoals by Nathan Fowkes for “Sharks Tale” were jaw dropping.
Can’t beat “slinky dog”…

Don’t you pay any mind to all those hi-brow art critics out there that refuse to realize animation and cartooning is “real” art.
Just remember the great quote by Anton Ego from Ratatouille -

“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.”

This show is so good I will be going back for a second injection. The amount of Pixar artists and their incredible art here is a true feast. A historical journey thru our joint Pixar past, all the characters, places and life lessons that made us smile, gasp, laugh and cry.  

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