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R. Crumb's Underground at Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia
Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky Crumb. Aline & Bob on Human Depravity, 2004, ink on paper.

PHILADELPHIA.- In 1967, a young Philadelphia cartoonist named Robert Crumb arrived in San Francisco and quickly established himself as a master of the burgeoning “comix” movement. No one had ever seen anything like Crumb’s skewed adult satire, a brilliant combination of classical storytelling and crass commercialism, expressed in a vibrant symbolic language harking back to “old time” cartooning. First featured in Philadelphia’s Yarrowstalks and in his own Zap Comix, Crumb’s tales of funny animals and misguided souls seeking enlightenment (including Fritz the Cat, Mr. Natural, Devil Girl, and his most enduring character, R. Crumb) vibrate with libidinal obsessions, feminist empowerment, racial tension, counterculture paranoia, government repression, and big-business commodification—the hustles and bustles hidden beneath the American dream.

This career-spanning survey, on view though December 7, 2008, is organized around specific themes and ideologies critical to his work. These include social satire, sex, blues and jazz music, mind-altering substances, autobiography, and biography. The show spotlights collaborations from his early San Francisco days in the 1960s and 1970s, to recent work with his wife, cartoonist Aline Kominsky-Crumb. Extending far beyond comics, this exhibit of over 100 works—including early comics, greeting cards, collaborations, and sketchbooks, as well as drawings and sculptures—is the most substantial portrait of Crumb to date in the United States.

Robert Crumb (born 1943 Philadelphia; lives Sauve, France) began drawing comics as a young boy in the 1950s. Universally acknowledged as the founder of the underground comics scene (often called “comix” to denote adult-themed comic books), Robert Crumb gained cult popularity for his pioneering Zap Comix, and stardom with the 1994 Terry Zwigoff documentary Crumb. He has published in countless comics, books, and magazines over the years, and has recently been recognized by the larger art world with numerous exhibitions, including a retrospective in 2004 at the Ludwig Museum, Cologne, and a focus in the 2004 Carnegie International, Pittsburgh.



Today's News

September 7, 2008

The Magic of Things: Still Life Painting 1500-1800 Opens at Kunstmuseum Basel

Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts Opens The Light Project

Christie's Holds First Ever Contemporary Design Sale in New York on Monday

Lyman Allyn Art Museum Opens New Exhibition Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos and Toys in the Attic

The Art Fund Helps Buy Key Works in Imperial War Museum's New Exhibition

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery Opens

Senior Curator of Photographs at the V&A to Give Talk at the Herbert

Devils Tower Opens New Interpretive Site and World Peace Sculpture

R. Crumb's Underground at Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia

Abstract Painter Dale Chisman Died Last Week at Age 65

Hoofprints: The Horse in Art, Legend and Action at Millard Sheets Center for the Arts

New Trustee Appointed to Wexner Center Foundation Board

The 1960s: Decade of Change on View at the Weatherspoon Art Museum

Workers Provide Intimate Portrait of 200 Years at the White House in at State Historical Society of Iowa

A Series of Three Major Photographs Auctions Offered at Christie's

A Surprising Portrait of Fritz Scholder, the Nation's Most Celebrated Native American Artist Opens in New York

$3 Million in Grants Awarded to 200 Museums, Historical Groups and Local Governments

The Cape Ann Museum Extends Greenheads Exhibition

An Exhibition of Collections Brought Together by Alan Kane at the London Underground

Call for 2009 Hunting Art Prize Entries

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