Featured Review: A Dance to Jules Feiffer

Featured Review: A Dance to Jules Feiffer The career of this pioneer of Seinfeldian existential humor is as impressive as they get — his vita includes a 40-plus-year stint as a cartoonist for the Village Voice; being the New York Times' first op-ed cartoonist; authoring a Mike Nichols-directed, Jack-Nicholson-starring film script (Carnal Knowledge); and winning the Pulitzer Prize. This exhibition focuses on a series of recent large-scale water colors of long-limbed dancers, as well as a select group of Feiffer's '90s-era dancer cartoons. These serials, which feature a woman with a determined sense of positivity, mildly spoof the ambitions of avant-garde expression by plying the elegant, creative urge with more desperate content — such as the wish for more rational gun control, racial equality and higher public education standards, along with the general desire to simply be better understood by one's parents. As much as she'd have to say about recent news, she has already said it. She's a blithe soul, whose strident leaps and drooping downfalls have an empathetic whimsy to them, keeping her message both trenchant and buoyant (not an easy bargain to strike) and always a step before her time. The show is a great introduction to Feiffer — a quiet inventor of a brand of contemporary frankness about art, politics and life — so prevalent today we pass it off as not mere wit but true-blue common sense. Through February 13 at the Millstone Gallery at COCA, 524 Trinity Avenue, University City; 314-725-6555 or www.cocastl.org. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

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