Yuk! Basil Wolverton Goes Blue Chip
Basil Wolverton at Gladstone Gallery (June 20 – August 14, 2009) is definitely a show worth seeing, for those of us who don’t have time to try and figure out the point of it all. It’s also a reflection of how almost anything these days can be considered high-end art.
People will recognize his style, if not the work itself, because it is true Americana. Illustration meant for mass consumption. I doubt very much that Basil Wolverton would have ever imagined he would have ended up as high art, on the main streets of New York’s exclusive gallery district.
Mad magazine was potty perfect, growing up in the 70s. I recall piles of the magazines stacked on the tank of our toilet growing up (we were a family of 3 boys). I wonder whether the girls of our generation would have such fond memories for these gag images? But it must be said that the images are certainly timeless, and as entertaining to the current younger generation as it was in our day.
Scatological, gory, gruesome, sexual, Wolverton’s images may not be appealing to the conservative collector. Even I couldn’t imagine hanging it with pride, in my powder room. (Maybe in the wood paneled basement recreation room?) However, museum quality it definitely is.