Charles Burns: Believer portraits

The Believer magazine is known for producing some of the most distinctive covers around, thanks in part to the portraits artist Charles Burns creates for them. His collected work for the publication now forms a new exhibition in New York

Alan Moore

The Believer magazine is known for producing some of the most distinctive covers around, thanks in part to the portraits artist Charles Burns creates for them. His collected work for the publication now forms a new exhibition in New York…

The Adam Baumgold Gallery is showing Charles Burns: Cover Portraits for The Believer 2003-2013 until July 26 and includes over 300 small ink drawings of artists, writers, musicians, the occasional animal, historical figures and characters.

Burns, a graphic novelist and author of the Black Hole series, usually creates four portraits for the cover of each edition of The Believer, often drawing more for special issues.

And at his new show there’s even more of his work to see, according to the gallery. “Alongside this vast series of Believer portraits is a group of Before & After drawings from Charles Burns’s seminal graphic novel, Black Hole. In these comic grotesque portraits, themes of adolescent alienation and sexual awakening mingle with imagery of mutation, disease, and violence. Each smiling, yearbook-style portrait is accompanied by a Dorian Gray-like counterpart, picturing the same teenager with some troubling facial alteration”.

Tracey Emin

David Byrne

Ahmir Thompson

Kristen Schaal

A Jawa

Two pairs of ‘Before & After’ prints from Burns’ Black Hole series, also on show at the gallery

The full series of Believer portraits can also be viewed at adambaumgoldgallery.com.

The Adam Baumgold Gallery in at 60 East 66th Street, New York, NY 10065. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday 11:00am – 5:30pm, during June, and Tuesday – Friday during July.


Pink Floyd fans may recognise the cover of our June issue. It’s the original marked-up artwork for Dark Side of the Moon: one of a number of treasures from the archive of design studio Hipgnosis featured in the issue, along with an interview with Aubrey Powell, co-founder of Hipgnosis with the late, great Storm Thorgerson. Elsewhere in the issue we take a first look at The Purple Book: Symbolism and Sensuality in Contemporary Illustration, hear from the curators of a fascinating new V&A show conceived as a ‘walk-in book’ plus we have all the regular debate and analysis on the world of visual communications.

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