A one man exhibition to the American comic artist Robert Crumb. The exhibition represents a comprehensive survey of 40 years of artistic activity. A choice and significant collection of round 200 drawings are on display, along with many documents and publications â€“ from Note to Arcade done in his youth to the classic underground comics ZAP, Snatch, Yellow Dog, Big Ass Comics up to Weirdo and Mystic Funnies.
From May 28th through Sept. 12th, Museum Ludwig is dedicating a one man exhibition to the American comic artist Robert Crumb. The founder and superstar of American underground comics became world famous through his figures Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural. In the 70's already, Crumb was a living legend and still counts among the internationally renowned draftsmen. Since 1990 he lives with his family in Southern France.
The exhibition represents a comprehensive survey of 40 years of artistic activity. A choice and significant collection of round 200 drawings are on display, along with many documents and publications â€“ from Note to Arcade done in his youth to the classic underground comics ZAP, Snatch, Yellow Dog, Big Ass Comics up to Weirdo and Mystic Funnies.
Museum Ludwig presents a multi-talented and in part unknown artist, whose repertoire goes beyond images concerning sexuality and drugs. Colorful greeting cards, record covers, posters for concerts (of his own band, for example) and landscapes can be seen. Crumb masters every subject with great skill, careful working of detail, precise lines and perfect lettering. In his youth he was inspired by Carl Barks and Walt Kelly. As historical ancestors of his visual worlds, he names Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Breughel, William Hogarth and James Guillray.
Deeply rooted in American culture, Robert Crumb describes the American way of life and aspects of the country's history from a critical stance. Pointedly and with verve, he unmasks everyday situations, illuminates them in a new way and expands our point of view. With his cult figures Fritz the Cat â€“ the young, dynamic, self-satisfied hippie type, who is unable to shake off his bourgeois background â€“ and Mr. Natural â€“ the guru, who only spouts empty platitudes â€“, he mirrors the art and cultural scene of the hippie movement. That he killed off both figures at the zenith of their success against all economic reason (Fritz the Cat dies, Mr. Natural is put into a mental asylum), demonstrates the artist's conviction: 'Big business kills culture'.
In Germany, Robert Crumb has enjoyed great popularity since the end of the sixties. As one of the first publishing houses, Zweitausendeins brought out the artist's works: since 1978 Crumb's sketchbooks have been reproduced there. Robert Gernhardt emphasized Crumb's significance for the world of drawing in 1982 in an essay, in which he places the artist on the same plane as the 'grand master of German comics', Wilhelm Busch:
'It happens only once in a blue moon that someone comes along to liberate comic drawing from the tamed domain of commercial entertainment, to pack the medium with the most personal experiences, insults, hopes and desires and lets it flow artistically and unhindered cross country â€“ up hill and down dale... Busch was such a case, so is Crumb.'
A catalogue-book accompanying the exhibition has been published by the Buchhandlung Walther KÃ¶nig, Cologne.
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