Gary Baseman: The Door is Always Open

Gary Baseman with Denise Gray. Rizzoli/Skira, $45 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8478-4047-2
"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.)
Reviewed on: 05/13/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
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