Mr. Baseman - recently shaven - with one of the many Emmy Awards statues he's won

With a huge solo exhibition currently showing in NYC at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery (check out our coverage of it here), performances with the band Nightmare and the Cat, including in NY, LA, and Austin at SXSW, and inclusion in group and benefit exhibitions, Gary Baseman has had a very busy last few weeks.  We were very fortunate to be able to visit the native Angeleno in his home studio as he prepared for his first show in six years in the contemporary art capital of the world.

Affected by the recent passing of his father, this show represented a departure in themes for the artist, from his usually joyous and festive ones to deeper issues of mortality, identity, death, transformation, and maturation. Accordingly, the colors of the pieces have darkened from bright and vivid to subdued and gray.

For the first time, the artist incorporated images from his personally-influential vintage photo collection (which includes about 2,000 pieces of people in masks), collaging and silkscreening such characters as a costumed ghost he named Lil Miss Boo.  With Walking Through Walls’ overarching idea of breaking through barriers, costumes and masks represent the ability to become someone else or allow yourself to behave free of inhibitions.

The following images include peaks of the show as the work was being prepared and put together.  We are able to receive a rare, intimate look at how everything looked before it was formally presented in the gallery setting.  Also included are shots of the multimedia luminary’s living and work space and images of his personal collection of work throughout the years, as well as those from his talented friends and others (there is normally a lot more displayed when Gary does not have his own work up while preparing for a show) he admires.

Hope you enjoy the visit. Photos after the jump…


The pieces in their natural environment awaiting a ride to New York

A peak at Gary's collection of personal work, awards, and art from friends, including Clayton Brothers


The artist in action

Where the magic happens

A beautiful in-progress "La Petite Mort" with transparent ghost girl

A lot of planning went into the exhibition

Two key pieces in the show

A drawing that eventually became a painting. Gary has about 50 completed books full of sketches and drawings.

Blackie thanks you for joining us on this visit!