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For Immediate release

August, 2008




San Antonio, TX — This year the holiday season in San Antonio starts early and ends late as the McNay pays homage to a most unusual holiday movie and its creator, the filmmaker Tim Burton.

Two parts Clement Clark Moore classic, one part Hollywood horror flick,



The Nightmare Before Christmas

(1993) chronicles the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, who one day stumbles into Christmastown and is so captivated by the holiday that he decides to take it over—with unintended consequences.

On view from Wednesday, September 3, 2008 through January 4, 2009, the exhibition (also titled



The Nightmare Before Christmas) explores Burton’s revolutionary use of stop-motion animation technique, a painstaking process dating back to the origins of cinema in the 1890s, requiring each frame to be exposed one at a time, as objects were moved. It took Burton two years to complete The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Over a dozen figures, set pieces, and props used in the making of the movie will be shown in the exhibition. These include sets of the library of Jack Skellington’s mountaintop Tower and the Armory of Oogie Boogie’s henchmen Lock, Shock, and Barrel. Viewers will see how Jack’s wiry body, dressed in a pinstriped tuxedo and batwings bowtie, can bend into different poses. The wooden floor of the Armory and spiral staircase of Jack’s Tower are drilled with holes where the figures were attached


and reattached moving through the set for the 24 photographs needed to make a single second of stop-motion animation.

The works on view were purchased by Robert L. B. Tobin and donated to the McNay. "These works are perhaps one of Mr. Tobin’s most whimsical contributions to the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts, but with the serious purpose of engaging children of all ages with the art of set and costume design," explains Jody Blake, Curator of the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts. "Burton’s


Nightmare is a milestone in film animation, combining the artistry of stop-motion animation with state-of-the-art technology."

As well as


The Nightmare before Christmas, Burton has directed such other films as Beetle Juice, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, Big Fish, and Sweeney Todd.

Nightmare Before Christmas



The McNay

Built by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay in the 1920s, the Spanish Colonial Revival-style home opened as Texas’ first museum of modern art in 1954. Today more than 100,000 visitors a year enjoy works by 20th-century masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. In June 2008, the museum opened the 45,000-square-foot Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibition designed by internationally renowned French architect Jean-Paul Viguier. Nearly doubling the McNay’s exhibition space, the Stieren Center includes three separate outdoor sculpture galleries, the first in South Texas.

Beginning June 10, museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 am – 4 pm; Thursday, 10 am – 9 pm; Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm; and Sunday, noon – 5 pm. Admission: McNay members – free; Adults – $8; Students 13 and under – $5; Seniors – $5; Active military – $5; Children 12 and under – free.


is a program of The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund.

An additional admission charge applies during select special exhibitions. No charge for general museum admission on Thursdays from 4 to 9 pm and on the first Sunday of the month.  

The McNay is closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.


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