The Ganzfeld

by Matthea Harvey

Peter Blegvad, from The Ganzfeld.

Like that of the magnified moth on the cover of its third issue, The Ganzfeld‘s wingspan is wider and stranger than its modest self-description as “an annual book of pictures and prose.” The third issue of The Ganzfeld, founded in 2000 by Dan Nadel and Peter Buchanan-Smith, was published to coincide with The Ganzfeld Unbound, an exhibition of the included artworks at Adam Baumgold Gallery in New York in April. Some highlights: Renee French’s deceptively sweet pencil sketches of “Objects from Dr. Chevalier Jackson’s Foreign Body Collection” (one shows a perfect-attendance pin removed from a four-year-old’s stomach); wallpaper commissions from the second issue (in Red Grooms’s B.L.T., bacon, lettuce, and tomato float on a backdrop of light green stripes); Richard McGuire’s wacky graphic hybrids Popeye and Olive; and images from Chris Ware’s deservedly ubiquitous graphic novel, Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. Issue three features Peter Blegvad’s uniquely manic mixture of quotations, photographs, and drawings in Constellations from the Milk Museum (Blegvad is the author of the not-to-be-missed book Leviathan); Paul Cox’s charming black-and-white drawings of colors; and a collaboration between artist Fred Tomaselli and writer Rick Moody. In fact, the Siamese-twin pairing of text and image (though the heart that powers the magazine may reside on the image side) is another reason for The Ganzfeld‘s magic. The editors and contributors are also committed to reaching into the past (imagined or otherwise) and plucking images and artists to join their merry crew; hence the inclusion of Renaissance designs for horse ballets staged for dukes and emperors and a fictitious essay on “telegraphic drawings” (an image of a skinned rabbit is made out of dashes transmitted from one operator to another) along with features on Tony Sarg (inventor of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon) and the 1960s artist group “The Hairy Who.” The Ganzfeld is an eye feast—as issue two proclaimed, “Look no further.”


The Ganzfeld #3 is in stores now.

Graphic novels
Art history
Summer 2003
The cover of BOMB 84