You most likely know by now that I worship Lynda Barry. She is one of the most exceptional and exuberant comics artists - and humans - of all time, and she is one of my matron saints. So I felt mixed feelings when I read that she is putting many of her original drawings and collages up for sale via a show at Adam Baumgold Gallery. Why no museum or archive has procured her work for their collection, I have no idea, and I believe it's something that will be deeply regretted in retrospect. That said, I am also excited to get to view her creations in person, beyond the small Marlys drawing I purchased from her many years ago. Her most recent glitterized, patchworked pieces that she's done for her books, What It Is and Picture This, will be available, as well as several of her original drawings and comics from the past 35 years:
Everything: Part I
May 13 – July 11, 2014
Adam Baumgold Gallery presents the first New York solo exhibition of famed cartoonist Lynda Barry, Everything: Part I from May 13 through July 11. The exhibition will feature over 80 original comic drawings, watercolors, and mixed media collages from the past 35 years, several of which are from Barry’s beloved Ernie Pook’s Comeek, a comic strip that was serialized across the US for over THIRTY YEARS, and is being reissued in a series of books by Drawn & Quarterly, the first of which is Blabber, Blabber, Blabber: Volume 1 of Everything (comics 1978-81). The exhibition will include work from her seminal books Two Sisters Comeek, Girls and Boys, The Freddie Stories, The Greatest of Marlys!, One! Hundred! Demons!, What It is, and Picture This: The Near-Sighted Monkey Book, as well as works that were published in Raw, The Village Voice, Esquire, Newsweek and The New York Times, among others.
Lynda Barry’s graphic novel What It Is that is featured in the exhibition, is a richly textured series of drawing collages and comics about the possibilities and mysteries of the creative process that won the comic industry’s 2009 Eisner Award for Best Reality Based Work.
The exhibition will also include work from her two illustrated novels, “The Good Times are Killing Me (1988), (adapted into an off Broadway play) and Cruddy (1999) which the New York Times called “A work of terrible beauty.”
Central to all her many bodies of work is Barry’s energetic line and her boisterous sense of humor. In some of her earliest works, for example, a cactus tries to seduce a woman saying, “Lola, can we be sure of anything in this crazy world? All I know are your eyes tonight and this wild beating of my heart.” For Barry, drawing and storytelling are integrated activities:
Special thanks to Tom Devlin and Chris Oliveros at Drawn & Quarterly for their invaluable assistance, and especially to Chris Ware for his counsel and help with this project. Finally, thanks to Lynda Barry, who has generously provided an in depth cross section of her work for this exhibition.
On a related note, I just noticed that Barry's newest book, Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor, is available for pre-order on Amazon. As one who was lucky enough to take her "Writing the Unthinkable" class several years back, I am overjoyed she is sharing her teachings with the wider world.