As you may know, I volunteer at a home for girls, the Aviva House (if you’re in the LA area, there’s lots of ways to get involved and it’s a great program!), teaching embroidery once a week. It occurred to me earlier in the summer that the girls might really enjoy the retrospective of Gary Baseman’s work at the Skirball Center, so I reached out to them, and boy, did we get lucky!!! The Skirball gave all 14 girls, supervisors and myself free admission and I reached out to Baseman, who very kindly agreed to meet us and give the girls the tour of his work.

It was amazing.

On a completely selfish, artist level it was fantastic to learn so much about the inspiration, thought, and process of an artist I like and admire.  I learned a great deal and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. On a less selfish, teacher note, it was great to see the girls interact with Baseman and his art.

If you don’t know about the show, Gary has recreated his childhood home (sort of) in the Skirball and mixed his childhood with his art.  The living room has a mix of furniture from his parents’ house and his aunt and uncle’s place; his Emmy awards stand on the mantle next to an award for fifth place in a foot race he won in elementary school.  Anyway, there’s many places online you can read about the show, but here’s a smattering of my favorite moments.

Please forgive the blurring of the girls’ faces; the house has v strict rules about not showing the residents.

IMG_2567Here’s Gary’s “dining room.” the table is from his parents’ house, the dishes were his aunt’s.IMG_2559Baseman’s first “studio.” He would sit and draw and watch cartoons. How many of us have some variant of this memory, I wonder.

IMG_2569Photo’s from Gary’s Bar Mitzvah.

IMG_2571Ghost dolls.

IMG_2575Bedspread with Baseman characters (there was lots of fabulous embroidery, applique, paper work – he’s very collaborative!).IMG_2580 A “tatoo” of Hot Cha Cha Cha Gary drew for one of the girls (she was THRILLED!).

IMG_2579Baseman, the girls, and I. Sadly due to blurring you can’t see the giant grins on their faces and how much this meant to them.

This is the final weekend of the exhibit, sadly (so glad I got to see it twice!), so if you haven’t gone, go.  Gary mentioned there would be Wild Girls dancing around the museum for the closing weekend, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were one or two other surprises as well.

Thank you so much Skirball Museum and Gary Baseman!