Barnes’ ‘Bags’ make East Coast debut

Apr 05, 2014
A crayon and pencil on lunch bag by Robert Barnes is one of the 300 such works going on view in the artist’s hometown of Searsport.

Searsport — WORKS Bookstore & Gallery will open the first show of the 2014 exhibition season Friday, April 11, with a 5 to 7 p.m. reception. “Vicky’s Bags,” 300 lunch bags painted by internationally known painter Robert Barnes, will hang though May 11 at WORKS, 21 East Main St./Route 1.

In 2010, Left Banks Books (now of Belfast) hosted Barnes speaking about the lunch bags, which had just been featured in McSweeney’s magazine, issue No. 35. In 2012, the collection was exhibited in its entirety in California.

According to McSweeney’s, Barnes fought his way to the top of Chicago’s flyweight boxing ranks in the early 1950s, winning the Golden Gloves before retiring at age 16. His paintings are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. He and his wife live in town in a 180-year-old house.

WORKS is displaying the bags on the East Coast for the first time. Along with 300 of Vicky’s lunch bags, an original painting by Barnes will be exhibited. This show offers a rare glimpse at this important artist’s work … and he may show up himself. For more information, call Karen Jelenfy at 899-5988.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

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