Underground Comics Master R. Crumb Gets Solo Exhibit
The Society of Illustrators is celebrating with a new exhibit the career of R. Crumb, a man who is credited with almost singlehandedly deconstructing the American comic book as an art form. NY1's Donna Karger filed the following report.
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Robert Crumb, the iconic leader of the underground comic movement, is out of the underground and into the mainstream at a new exhibit at the Society of Illustrators on the Upper East Side.
"R. Crumb: Lines Drawn On Paper" features 90 works from the brash, anti-establishment, and frequently profane artist who first made his mark on the counterculture in the 1960s.
Society of Illustrators Director Anelle Miller says Crumb's influence extends far beyond just being a cartoonist with a naughty streak.
"Crumb matters because he laid the groundwork and created the genre of underground comics," says Miller. "He was just the foremost person in creating this genre. Back in the 1960s, comics were really juvenile, and he didn't want to go that route. So he really just stepped outside the box and created this. And he's important."
Crumb's take-no-prisoners approach addresses politics, sex and race relations, but Miller says the subject matter shouldn't obscure Crumb's skills as an illustrator.
"The art is extraordinary because of its simplicity," says Miller. "It's not only the art but it's the writing. So the pairing of those two modes makes him extraordinarily brilliant. And it is so simple."
More than four decades after revolutionizing the world of comic books, Crumb continues to leave his mark.
"All of these wonderful young illustrators -- Sam Weber -- that are doing so much in the way of graphic novels; I think whether consciously or subconsciously, Crumb from his underground work has really influenced them," says Miller.
At age 67, the master himself isn't resting on his laurels. He continues to work, and he even lent a hand to this exhibit.
"He provided us some artwork that we were able to make postcards out of, artwork that has never been seen before because it came right out of his sketchbook," says Miller.
Viewers can dive into the wild, wonderful world of Crumb at the Society of Illustrators until April 30. Admission is free.