• Charles M. Schulz, three frames from Peanuts, October 13, 1968, newspaper comic strip. © United Feature Syndicate.

    Charles M. Schulz, three frames from Peanuts, October 13, 1968, newspaper comic strip. © United Feature Syndicate.

    “Masters of American Comics”

    Hammer Museum

    FIFTEEN YEARS is a long time to prepare a retort. “Masters of American Comics,” an exhibition certifying the genius of fifteen male comics artists, eleven of them dead, seems to be a detailed answer to the Museum of Modern Art’s infamous 1990–91 show “High & Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture.”

    At the time of “High & Low,” reviewers accused the curators of patronizing and sanitizing popular culture, shunning anything dark, gay, erotic, or feminist. Among the critics lamenting the show’s superficial treatment of comics was Art Spiegelman, the author of Maus (Pantheon Books, 1991), who published

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  • Florian Maier-Aichen

    Blum & Poe | Los Angeles

    In his recent exhibition at Blum & Poe (an identical set of works was shown almost simultaneously at 303 Gallery in New York), German-born photographer Florian Maier-Aichen brought a painter’s and draftsman’s eye to the practice of photography. While many photographers are still technical purists, Maier-Aichen marshals a refreshing diversity of approaches. To make Untitled (all works 2005), for example, he used a computer to draw a version of an existing photograph, making a new image in which one of two smokestacks is shown falling, almost striking the second. The only original element left

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  • Alice Könitz

    Vielmetter Los Angeles

    In her 2004 exhibition at Susanne Vielmetter, Alice Könitz presented an absurdist video featuring four characters in an idyllic natural setting, all wearing geometric masks that looked at once primitive and fashionable. Such images represented a way for Könitz to begin negotiating the complex symbolic terrain between exteriority and interiority. In her latest show she continued to use formalism as a vehicle for moving from idiosyncratic concerns—recurring modular shapes, familiar low-budget materials, a limited palette now further refined to brown and metallic colors—toward an investigation

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  • Soo Kim

    Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

    Soo Kim’s They Stop Looking at the Sky, 2006, which was shown recently in the Pasadena Museum of California Art’s project space, is a set of collages made by using a computer to juxtapose found and original photographs and new drawings, printing the results on single sheets of transparent film, then mounting each composition on one of three four-by-five-foot Plexiglas panels. The recurring image is a partial overhead view of a city. The architecture suggests a range of cultures, periods, and technologies; the overall mix makes it difficult to think of it as specific to a single place. Though

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