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.
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.