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Exhibition of R. Crumb Art at David Zwirner Proves Why He is One of the Most Celebrated Illustrators

  • R. Crumb art
  • R. Crumb art
  • R. Crumb art
  • R. Crumb art
  • R. Crumb art
  • R. Crumb art
  • R. Crumb art
  • R. Crumb art
March 27, 2016
Gordana Sretenović. Teaching English and writing for a living. Obsessed with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Desires to travel the world and not have a permanent address. Occasionally writes poetry.

David Zwirner is proud to present the inaugural exhibition of R. Crumb at the gallery in London, presenting drawings from his Art & Beauty magazines. First published in 1996, Crumb has recently completed the highly awaited third volume of this series. This show marks the biggest public presentation of this project to this day. The exhibition at David Zwirner’s is his first solo show in Britain after his 2005 presentation at Whitechapel Gallery. Being one of the most celebrated illustrators of today, Crumb has had a major part in defining the cartoon and punk subcultures in the 1960s and 1970s with his comic strips such as Fritz the Cat, Mr. Natural, and Keep on Truckin’.

R. Crumb art
R. Crumb – Untitled, 2002, Page from Art & Beauty Magazine, Number 2, 2003, Ink and correction fluid on paper, 11 x 14 18 inches (28 x 36 cm). © Robert Crumb, 2002. Courtesy the artist, Paul Morris, and David Zwirner, New York/London

The Punk-Rock Eroticism of R. Crumb’s Art

Robert Crumb is an artist who has created so much more than just art. He is the pioneer of the punk-rock scene and his magazines Art & Beauty, as well as his illustrations, are the living proof of it. The overt eroticism paired with recurrent self-deprecation combined with an almost stream of consciousness style have reinforced his position as an influential and eminent artist. His work tackles the absurdity of social conventions and political disenchantment. Blending the iconography of comic books, pop culture, and art history, Art & Beauty depicts a wide selection of images of women in various settings. The inspiration for this series is connected to Crumb’s enthusiastic collecting of vintage underground paraphernalia, such as records, flipbooks, and Art & Beauty, catalog published in the 1920s and 1930s presenting semi-erotic pictures of models for art aficionados and aspiring painters. Following this example, Crumb has chosen his models from tabloid celebrities, sports stars, life models, his own friends, strangers. He has put them in a setting with journalistic-style commentary and quotes from various artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Andy Warhol, and Paul Cézanne. This philosophical and poetic prose reflects the romanticized language of the old magazine but is tinted with precise sarcasm and self-mockery that weakens the relationship between the illustration and the caption. R. Crumb manages to wittily incorporate his own fantasies and fixations in his art, and let them fuse with stereotypes and bigotries from the past times as well as the present, thus creating a simultaneously personal and overemphasized typography of women.

R. Crumb art
R. Crumb – Untitled, 2002, Page from Art & Beauty Magazine, Number 2, 2003, Ink and correction fluid on paper, 14 x 11 inches (35.5 x 28 cm).© Robert Crumb, 2002. Courtesy the artist, Paul Morris, and David Zwirner, New York/London.

R. Crumb’s Latest Volume and Other Works

In his latest works presented at David Zwirner London for the first time, R. Crumb continues to examine the meeting point of art and beauty through illustrations based on photos from life studies, magazines, and camera phone shots from selfies and city streets he received in emails. Women close to Crumb, such as his wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Eden Brower of Eden and John’s East River String Band, are featured prominently. Other names that appear in his works are the tennis player Serena Williams and reality television star Coco. The Philadelphia-born artist has cited that his inspirations include Thomas Nast, T.S. Sullivant, James Gillray, and Honore Daumier. His drawings present a satirical critique of a modern consumer society and they often possess a personal touch, related to his own experiences and personal life. R. Crumb’s art is represented in museum collections around the world, including, but not limited to, the Brooklyn Museum in New York, Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Museum Ludwig in Cologne, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. R. Crumb currently lives and works in France.

R. Crumb art
R. Crumb – Untitled, 2002, Page from Art & Beauty Magazine, Number 2, 2003, Ink and correction fluid on paper, 14 x 11 inches (35.5 x 28 cm).© Robert Crumb, 2002. Courtesy the artist, Paul Morris, and David Zwirner, New York/London.

R. Crumb Art at David Zwirner

R. Crumb’s art will be exhibited at David Zwirner in London from April 15th to June 2nd, 2016. The opening reception is scheduled for Thursday, April 14th, from 6 PM to 8 PM, with press preview at 10 AM with Paul Morris, a private art dealer specializing in contemporary and post-war art and a personal friend of Robert Crumb. David Zwirner Books will also publish all three volumes of R. Crumb: Art & Beauty in one book which will include the artist’s latest work for the third issue of the magazine. Art & Beauty Magazine: Drawings by R. Crumb leads the reader through the twenty-year-long history of Crumb’s magazine, from 1990 to the most recent drawings made in 2016. The foreword is written by Paul Morris and the cover is designed by the artist specifically for this release. The book will be published in a limited edition of 400 copies with a signed bookplate.

Featured images: R. Crumb – Untitled, 2002, Page from Art & Beauty Magazine, Number 2, 2003, Ink and correction fluid on paper, 14 x 11 inches (35.5 x 28 cm) © Robert Crumb, 2002. Courtesy the artist, Paul Morris, and David Zwirner, New York/London.| R. Crumb – Cover of Art & Beauty Magazine Drawings by R. Crumb, © Robert Crumb, 2016. Courtesy the artist, Paul Morris, and David Zwirner, New York/London | R. Crumb – Untitled, 2001, Page from Art & Beauty Magazine, Number 2, 2003, Ink and correction fluid on paper, 14 x 11 inches (35.5 x 28 cm)© Robert Crumb, 2002. Courtesy the artist, Paul Morris, and David Zwirner, New York/London. | R. Crumb – Untitled, 2002, Page from Art & Beauty Magazine, Number 2, 2003, Ink and correction fluid on paper, 14 x 11 inches (35.5 x 28 cm) © Robert Crumb, 2002. Courtesy the artist, Paul Morris, and David Zwirner, New York/London.| R. Crumb – Untitled, 2002, Page from Art & Beauty Magazine, Number 2, 2003, Ink and correction fluid on paper, 13 x 11 inches (35.5 x 28 cm) © Robert Crumb, 2002. Courtesy the artist, Paul Morris, and David Zwirner, New York/London.| R. Crumb – Untitled, 2002; Page from Art & Beauty Magazine, Number 2, 2003, Ink and correction fluid on paper, 13 7/8 x 11 1/8 inches (35.5 x 28 cm) | Robert Crumb – Untitled, 2002 Page from Art & Beauty Magazine, Number 2, 2003, Ink and correction fluid on paper, 14 x 11 inches (35.5 x 28 cm) © Robert Crumb, 2002. Courtesy the artist, Paul Morris, and David Zwirner, New York/London.| Robert Crumb – Untitled, 20112, Page from Art & Beauty Magazine, Number 2, 2003, Ink and correction fluid on paper, 14 x 11 inches (35.6 x 27.9 cm)© Robert Crumb, 2002. Courtesy the artist, Paul Morris, and David Zwirner, New York/London.