The David Zwirner Gallery, located in London’s Mayfair, held a launch for its R. Crumb Art & Beauty exhibition which features drawings from the latest edition of Robert Crumb’s Art & Beauty Magazine and runs until 2nd June 2016.
Tripwire was lucky enough to attend it and they’ve posted images from the event here on their web site.
Comic artist Robert Crumb was at the event in person – the launch included a session play of Crumb playing with Eden & John’s East River String Band – along with Eddie Campbell and Knockabout Comics publisher Tony Bennett.
“It was amazing to see Crumb’s work in such rarefied surroundings,” says Tripwire editor Joel Meadows, “and David Zwirner has published a book to commemorate the exhibition.
One of America’s most celebrated cartoonists, Robert Crumb helped define cartoon and punk subcultures of the 1960s and 1970s with comic strips like Fritz the Cat, Mr. Natural, and Keep on Truckin’. The open sexuality of his work, paired with frequent self-deprecation and a free, almost stream-of-consciousness style, have made Crumb into a global voice and a renowned contemporary artist.
Originally published by Kitchen Sink Press in 1996, Art & Beauty #1 was both a satirical take on aesthetics and a continued exploration of Crumb’s subversion of sexuality and mainstream values. Drawings of women in positions ranging from lascivious to modest or mid-sport are accompanied by quotations, many of which are from artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Harvey Kurtzman. Mining his own obsessions and fantasies, Crumb reimagines the history of art, challenging notions of beauty, along with society’s mores and expectations of propriety around the female form.
The second volume of Art & Beauty, published in 2003, expanded on the first, adding all new drawings (also of women) and quotations, likewise taken from the history of art and aesthetics. The effect of both volumes is undeniably destabilizing. The images appeal to a purely erotic sensibility, which in turn is undercut by the inclusion of highfalutin and frequently philosophical prose. The images drag philosophy back down to earth, while the writing challenges the pure eroticism of Crumb’s drawings.
The eagerly awaited Art & Beauty #3 has been released for the first time as part of Art & Beauty Magazine: Drawing by R. Crumb, available from today direct from publisher David Zwirner Books and other stockists such as Amazon later this year. Presenting all three volumes in one book, Art & Beauty Magazine is arranged chronologically and guides the reader through the twenty-year history of Crumb’s magazine, from the earliest images in the 1990s to the most recent drawings completed in 2016.
Paul Morris, longtime gallerist and supporter of Crumb’s practice, has written a foreword that contextualizes this body of work and the artist’s career as a whole. This edition, with a cover specially designed by Crumb for its release, makes the initial two issues available for the first time in over ten years, and presents the new and previously unpublished material from the third.
“For seasoned supporters and novices alike, Art & Beauty Magazine: Drawing by R. Crumb is a wonderful window into Crumb’s world of bodies and ideas, art and beauty,” say publisher David Zwirner Books.
A limited edition of 400 signed copies has also been published.
• Check out the Tripwire story here
• R. Crumb Art & Beauty runs until 2nd June 2016. Details here on the David Zwirner Gallery web site. The gallery is located in the heart of Mayfair at 24 Grafton Street, London W1S 4EZ | View Google map here | Tel: 0203 538 3165 | Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10.00am – 6.00pm