Holocaust survivor Ben Baseman spent four years fighting off Nazis in the birch forests of what was then Poland (now part of Ukraine). Decades later, the episode inspired his son, Gary, to create the Buckingham Warrior, a “defender of strong ideals and a stark reminder to the fragility of our own ecology.” The artist, illustrator, and cult toy maker’s multi-headed deer character comes alive in a new MOCAtv animated short released to coincide with Baseman’s megashow, “The Door Is Always Open,” on view through August 18 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Directed by David Charles and animated by Peter Markowski, the allegorical tale plays out against a raging score by the South-African rap-rave duo Die Antwoord.
Posts Tagged ‘Gary Baseman’
Detail from Gary Baseman’s “The Celebration of Toby” (2005)
The countdown is on to Gary Baseman‘s first major museum exhibition, which will turn L.A.’s Skirball Cultural Center into a fun house full of paintings, photographs, toys, sketchbooks, and videos. More than 300 artworks and objects will be installed in thematic “rooms” of a gallery designed to evoke Baseman’s childhood home, complete with family photos, Super 8 home movies, and furnishings. The creative exuberance of “Gary Baseman: The Door Is Always Open” will be revealed on April 25 with an opening house party at which Baseman will create a “spontaneous artwork” amidst pinata smashing, mask making, a performance by Nightmare and the Cat, and a DJ set by Shepard Fairey. Prepare yourself by taking a virtual trip into Baseman’s world (and studio), thanks to filmmaker Eric Minh Swenson:
On Saturday night we scampered downtown to the “@ Murakami” exhibition at MOCA to see UnBeige favorites Gary Baseman, Tim Biskup and Simone Legno in a special evening program. “Pervasive Persuasion” promised a discussion about “how and why artists in Los Angeles are blurring the lines of media,” but the scene was typical of previous Baseman-Biskup events we’d covered: lots of mostly Asian kids waiting in line to get as close as possible to the artists.
Added to this mix was an army of women wearing the uniform of supershort sweater dresses, tights and low-slung belts, toting more Toki Doki Le Sportsac bags than we even knew existed (which Legno patiently signed with Sharpies). Baseman and Legno painted in the middle of the room and posed for pics while Biskup DJed nearby (we appreciated the Rob Base).
Okay, so maybe we should have waited in line with the kids to get a better seat. We’re sure the panel moderated by Giant Robot’s Eric Nakamura was fascinating and informative. But from where we were sitting, only about halfway through the seating, the whole thing sounded more like the grown ups in “Peanuts”: Wawa wah wawa wah wah waaaah. To be fair, the panelists realized the problem and tried holding their clip-on mics in their hands, but it didn’t really help. We did hear the Italian-born Legno say something cute about loving Japanese culture more than the Japanese. We think.
But afterwards, even those who couldn’t hear the artists got some great one-on-one interaction as Biskup, Baseman and Legno–all incredible sports when it came to posing for pics–created art with attendees on a giant mural, which was divided up and handed out at the end of the night. And then Baseman painted on Japanese Butoh dancer Oguri. Yep. More on that at Nakamura’s blog.
The Murakami show, of course, did not disappoint. We saw the new kaikai & kiki film (cute, but we preferred the Kayne West video that preceded it). While we’re whining, however, might we mention another incredibly perplexing decision made by MOCA, on this night specifically focused on how artists have parlayed their work into products (and specifically, purses)? The embedded Louis Vuitton store selling Murakami goods was not open, nor was the gift shop. It was enough to make us want to steal some plates.
More goodness (and lots of toys) by the artists…
Before we lost our minds in Miami, we met up over PBRs, ever so briefly, with Kevin Grady and Colin Metcalf, who were in town giving a presentation at Art Center. You might remember their bubblicious GUM, which was kinda like a comic book, kinda like a magazine, kinda like a limited-edition toy. Then they launched Lemon, a straight-up zine, which we praised awhile back for both its creativity and its amazing list of contributors: Malcolm McDowell, Billy Corgan, Leelee Sobieski, Ray Bradbury, Pop Levi, Matthew Modine, Gary Baseman, Chip Kidd, Stefan Bucher and Jill Greenberg were just in the last issue alone.
Grady and Metcalf told us that as much as they love making GUMs, they sure are a heckuva lot of work (they have day jobs, too, if you can believe it); instead, they’re looking to plump up Lemon, making it more like an annual. Their next issue, which we can’t divulge much about yet, sounds awesome. Let’s just say they’ve been watching a lot of men in white spandex. Events to celebrate the release will be in the form of Milk Bars (we don’t know what that means, but apparently it involves rum) held in NY and LA in early 2008, so keep your eyes peeled.
Our friends at HOW were kind enough to remind us that their annual conference is just around the corner–June 10-13 to be exact–and in order to save a few bucks, you’ll want to sign up before April 13. They just keep adding UnBeige favorites to the Atlanta lineup: Chip Kidd, Steff Geissbuhler, Deborah Sussman, Gary Baseman, Armin Vit, Hillman Curtis and many many more. Early Bird registration ends this Friday, after which you’ll be paying full price and have nothing left over for tickets to the all new World of Coca-Cola.
After a glitzy opening in Culver City last Saturday, the Charity By Numbers event that we touted here is still going full-force. The show remains up until tomorrow, when the online auction also closes (and some of the pieces are well over a grand so you can stop counting your milk money right now). At the packed reception we congratulated co-organizer Gary Baseman on the tremendous success of the show, but it seems one LA Weekly writer in attendance just couldn’t connect:
I want to talk to Baseman about it. I try pushing my way through the throng, but I can’t get to him–he is surrounded by well-wishers. I catch a glimpse of zebra beard, but after half an hour of standing around, I realize that’s the closest I’m going to get tonight. I grab one last canape and head into the night, quietly cursing Gary Baseman. Sometimes, you know, it’s possible to have too many friends.
Hmmm, maybe he was talking to us? We had him cornered at the top of the stairs for a bit. Or maybe she couldn’t see over “The Office” creator Stephen Merchant, whose head floated above the crowd like a balloon. Dude, he is at least seven feet tall.
Take a look at this list: Mark Ryden & Marion Peck, Tim Biskup, Gary Baseman, Todd & Kathy Schorr, Camille Rose Garcia, Michael Hussar, Shag, Clayton Brothers, Shepard Fairey, Andrew Brandou, Gary Panter, Miss Van, Paul Frank, Isabel Samaras (above) and like a hundred more artists have been given vintage paint-by-numbers for a huge fundraiser next week in LA to benefit Kids Alliance.
Charity by Numbers runs from February 10 to February 17 at the Corey Helford Gallery, but you can bid online for the prints you like. And, the organizers have leaked a few sneak peeks to UnBeige…
Forget the toys, lines were the theme at Kidrobot’s party at the Standard Hotel. One freaking long line to get in. Lines to get up the escalator. Lines for cotton candy. Lines for drinks. Lines to get your limited-edition “Hello My Name Is” Dunny signed by Huck Gee.
To give you a sense of this event’s urgency, the hotel’s uberglam roof was empty–hipsters were squeezed into conference-type rooms on the second floor and more eager to customize their 3-inch Munnys at several art tables. Peanut Butter Wolf spun old school hip hop in the corner; accompanying videos played on a monitor (we saw a sweet Tribe one from the ’90s). Sadly our buddy KR founder Paul Budnitz was nowhere to be seen but folks like Tim Biskup milled about. On the way out, Mena Suvari was spotted wearing this hoodie.