Masters of American Comics

Masters of American Comics: John Carlin, Paul Karasik, and Brian Walker The “Masters of American Comics” exhibition opened last month at the Hammer Museum and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. “The organizing principle behind the show,” says Publishers Weekly, “is deceptively simple: tell the history of comics in the United States from the beginning of the 20th century to the present through the work of 15 of its most influential artists.

“This canon-making approach has not been without its critics, but the scale and seriousness of the project are undeniable. An impressive array of more than 900 pen and ink drawings, sketchbooks, color proofs, magazine covers and crumbling newsprint—and that’s not counting the political cartoons or handmade toys—are on display in this first large-scale museum show devoted exclusively to comics as Art.”

The catalog accompanying the exhibition, published by Yale University Press, has been hailed as “lavish and comprehensive” (Publishers Weekly) and “an academic and beautifully illustrated exploration” (USA Today). The New Yorker says, “The cultural prestige that comics currently enjoy is exemplified by this book…Hundreds of color reproductions allow the ingenuity of the artists’ work to speak for itself.”

The exhibition continues in Los Angeles until March 12, 2006. It will travel to the Milwaukee Art Museum from April 27 – August 13, 2006, and to the Jewish Museum in New York City and the Newark Museum in New Jersey from September 15, 2006 – January 28, 2007.

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