Featuring new and previously-shown pieces as well as installations outdoors and in, “Lost Vegas: Tim Burton @ the Neon Museum" opened on 15 October and, before the pandemic hit, was set to close 12 April. To appease fans who didn't make it to Nevada in time, the museum will host a virtual tour on Friday via Facebook Live, focusing on the pieces from the exhibit in the Neon Boneyard. The tour will appear on the museum's Facebook page right after the broadcast, and it will remain in the videos section for the forseeable future. "With the Museum's temporary closure due to COVID-19, we know thousands of art lovers will miss their chance to see Burton's outstanding exhibition," museum CEO Rob McCoy said in a statement. "This live, virtual tour will take place especially for them — and will be enjoyable for anyone who appreciates Burton's work and iconic Las Vegas sign design."
As the director and artist's first American fine-art exhibit since the Museum of Modern Art's back in 2009, the show has been hotly anticipated. The MoMa display was the museum’s third most popular ever, drawing 810,500 visitors, as the New York Times reported, “to see artefacts like Mr. Burton’s early illustrations and a prop of Sarah Jessica Parker’s severed head from his movie Mars Attacks!” With site-specific, large-scale installations created especially for the Neon Museum’s outdoor spaces, it was sure to be equally well-attended – and also unlike anything the artist has done before.
Long a champion of the museum’s mission to preserve and display the iconic neon signs of Las Vegas, Burton was one of the first to recognize its visual and commercial appeal, placing it front and center in Mars Attacks! and drawing attention from the world over in the process. For this fall’s exhibit, the director’s new pieces will be woven throughout the museum’s collection, simultaneously a creative retrospective as well as a sign of his enduring affection for the place.
“To say we’re flattered that Mr. Burton has chosen our museum for this exhibition would be an understatement,” McCoy said in a press release announcing the show. “But when you think about it, Tim is one of the few artists who can match the great imagination of Las Vegas.”
This article was originally published on 25 July, 2019 and updated on 10 April, 2020.