previews

  • “Ecstasy: In and About Altered Sttes”

    The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
    250 South Grand Avenue
    September 9–February 20

    Curated by Paul Schimmel

    In the ’80s, XTC (the English pop band whose name phonetically transcribes the word that serves as the theme for this exhibition) wrote a song titled “The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul.” The great voyage beyond oneself seems to be the order of the day, at least if one is to judge by the number of recent exhibitions devoted either to soul-searching’s historical and vernacular side (psychedelia) or to its multiple avatars in contemporary art. Among the latter, this show promises a particularly original, and very multimedia, journey. The list of thirty artists is radically eclectic, running the gamut from Jeppe Hein to Pipilotti Rist, Ann Veronica Janssens to Takashi Murakami, plus a few newcomers from the four corners of the globe.

    Translated from French by Jeanine Herman.

  • “Masters of American Comics”

    The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
    250 South Grand Avenue
    November 20–March 12

    Curated by John Carlin and Brian Walker

    Also on view at the UCLA Hammer Museum

    Funny as a crutch, as Ralph Malph used to say: Most discussions of comics are drier than a Methodist wake. And with fans’ obsessive knowledge of particular faves often exaggerating their subject’s relative cultural importance, essays on the medium frequently adopt a tone that is, ironically, world-serious. This show hopes to circumvent this somber solipsism by tracing comics’ development over the century, with drawings and vintage newspaper strips by fifteen “masters” exhibited alongside comic books themselves. The catalogue offers writers as varied and talented as Pete Hamill and Jules Feiffer (on Terry and the Pirates and Popeye), not to mention the unstoppable Dave Eggers (on Chris Ware).

    Travels to the Milwaukee Art Museum, Apr. 25–Aug. 20, 2006.