New York

Charles Burns

Adam Baumgold Gallery

Everything in the world of Charles Burns is suffused in an otherworldly glow, as if the only available light were provided by cosmic radiation, nuclear blasts, or the full moon. Through this permanent midnight ranges a freakish cast of characters, sometimes half-human, half-animal, often hideously disfigured or diseased. Even the natural landscape they inhabit is cast in an unsettling hue, the ground underfoot littered with cigarette butts, scraps of clothing, shards of broken glass, and mangled animal remains, the waters fetid and opaque. And when the scene shifts from rural to urban, the city seems to pulse with violence, an endless, airless film noir set built from hard, metallic lines.

A veteran of the 1980s comics underground that found its fullest expression in the seminal anthology RAW (edited by Maus creator Art Spiegelman in collaboration with his wife, Françoise Mouly), Burns

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the November 2008 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.