Gary Baseman: The Door Is Always Open

Overview

This catalogue to the first museum retrospective of Gary Baseman’s extraordinary work explores the very personal world of a unique American artist. Gary Baseman has been an avid artist since childhood, his visual vernacular defined by his Jewish upbringing in the multicultural landscape of Los Angeles and by the popular forms of television, films, games, toys, and cartoons from the 1930s to the present day. With The Door Is Always Open, the Skirball Cultural Center presents the first major retrospective of ...
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Overview

This catalogue to the first museum retrospective of Gary Baseman’s extraordinary work explores the very personal world of a unique American artist. Gary Baseman has been an avid artist since childhood, his visual vernacular defined by his Jewish upbringing in the multicultural landscape of Los Angeles and by the popular forms of television, films, games, toys, and cartoons from the 1930s to the present day. With The Door Is Always Open, the Skirball Cultural Center presents the first major retrospective of Baseman’s career to date, exhibiting the artist’s work and personal artifacts within the compelling and novel conceit of a home within a gallery. The show is designed to resemble a tour of a house, at once highlighting the intensely personal nature of Baseman’s work (and reflecting the locality of his influences) and drawing attention to the effortless but deliberate movement between disciplines and boundaries inherent in his art. This beautifully illustrated catalogue follows the structure of the exhibition and brings to it a wealth of material to present a comprehensive survey of Baseman’s work across all media, from his early editorial illustration work to his expansive and character-based paintings, his poignant animations to his tragicomic films and photography, and from his coveted sculptures and vinyl toys to the closely guarded personal collection of the objects that inspired it all.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"As a child I devised an imaginary home that had many unknown doors, housed in an alternative world with characters that were often monsters," artist Baseman writes in this monograph, produced in tandem with a retrospective exhibit of his work at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Baseman uses the theme of "home" effectively in this engrossing collection, guiding readers through the rooms of a house (bedroom, studio, etc) as they explore his work together. Family snapshots are interspersed with sketches, final works, works-in-progress, photos from exhibitions, images of toys inspired by his work (as well as his work on the Cranium board game), performance art, and magazine covers, giving the reader a true sense of Baseman's pervasiveness in popular culture. Running concurrent to the largely visual narrative are essays on Baseman's Jewish identity and the importance of Los Angeles's influence on his work, which provide greater insight into the artist and his process. Whether fans want to dig that deep or simply witness the evolution of Toby, Baseman's ubiquitous bulbous-headed character, and similar ephemera is up to them—this masterfully-composed work is accessible enough for those with only a nodding acquaintance to Baseman's work as well as obsessives. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"...the book also explores Baseman’s mind, room by room. It includes a look at his relevance, his cultural roots, his best known characters (like Toby, the exceedingly well-traveled Fez-wearing leather plush doll), his many inspirations, his obsession with the feminine, and an astounding range of artwork, from illustration to toy design to performance art, all of which is stunningly cohesive, somehow, and consistently uniquely Baseman-esque." ~typo-graphical.com
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847840472
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Publication date: 4/23/2013
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 973,956
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 11.12 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Baseman grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA magna cum laude. His career has spanned fine and commercial arts, toy and game designs, a television series, photography and film, and fashion and textile collaborations. His work has appeared on the covers of the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, and Rolling Stone among others, and has been exhibited in galleries from New York to Tokyo.
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