While in NY last week, I had the opportunity to visit the MOMA to check out their special exhibitions. Since I’d just done a full tour of the museum in August, I felt I didn’t need to see every Matisse, Pollock and blue/white/black/slashed canvas again. The first special exhibition I walked through was SAFE: Design Takes on Risk. At first I wasn’t sure what to expect out of an exhibit on safety, but it was fascinating. The idea behind the exhibit is that nowhere does design matter more than in an emergency, where a tool or safety device needs to be so user-friendly that it can be understood and used immediately. The exhibit included everything from life vests, fire blankets, and Target’s new prescription bottles, to some more amusing art objects playing with the idea of safety. Some more images and examples can be found in this article.
The other special exhibition running at the MOMA was on Pixar animation. The gallery walls were filled with concept art from all of Pixar’s films, including their upcoming film Cars. There were also quite a few character model sculptures and plasma screens showing slideshows, Pixar shorts and more concept art. It was fun to see all of the artwork together, but I’d still seen most of it already in the various special features from the DVDs. But… the real highlight of the exhibit was in one of the theater spaces, where they had this giant turntable behind a glass case (pictured above). On the turntable were countless character models from Toy Story, all in slightly different poses. The whole thing started spinning rapidly, and then the regular light went out and the strobe light came on. The whole scene animated into a continuous loop of Woody galloping on his horse, Buzz balancing on a ball, green aliens walking around, and little army men jumping out of the box in the middle. In motion the whole scene looked like it was a state of the art 3D hologram projection, but it was so much simpler. It was an amazing demonstration of exactly what creates animation.