Laguna Art Museum Shows Gary Baseman's Enjoy or Suffer

As part of the remarkably seductive, yet confounding show, Pervasion: The Art of Gary Baseman and Tim Biskup at the Laguna Art Museum (till Sept. 24), one piece worthy of notice for gallery comics aficionados is Baseman's Enjoy or Suffer (reproduced on the Juxtapoz 8th Anniversary Show online gallery). Composed of four sequential panels (acrylic on canvas panels 14" x 14"), this comics also had a print run as a magazine strip. This begs the question: does a comic made with a traditional "painterly" technique (brushed acrylics) and support (canvas) qualify as a "gallery comics," especially if its primary function is to be mechanically mass reproduced? Inevitably, some artworks will stand in that "gray" zone that makes categorization challenging. Somewhere, Baseman's Enjoy or Suffer creates a very different gallery presence than, say, many of E. C. Segar's Popeye's pages at the Masters of American Comics retrospective at the Newark Museum, New Jersey (also at the Jewish Museum in New York). Enjoy or Suffer looks at home hanging on a wall. This suggests that Baseman's comics at least functions well as a gallery comics. Let's keep in mind the gallery comics "territory" has just started being charted out. So, map on, creators!


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