los-angeles

Saul Steinberg’s “Written” Pictures

Felix Landau Gallery

It’s no news to anyone that great stuff goes under-appreciated because its setting is less than high-arty; some of the finest American drawing often presents itself in little panels in The New Yorker. The Master, still, is Saul Steinberg if you like him, that is, if you can see past the eclectics (Klee, Picasso, Grosz, Duchamp) to the realization that Steinberg is—although precious, although exploitative, although cute—profound. Steinberg admits that the joke (mass-stamped “Angelus” figures, portrait-photo shading, teeth charts as skyscraper windows) is on him as well as us; otherwise he wouldn’t go to the trouble of custom-making nonsense stamps which double as official stamps doubling as moons, or faces. Steinberg is a joyfully didactic artist, employing minute urban visual vignettes, and it’s worth watching them work, regardless of little red dots hovering below tasteful frames boasting

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