In October 2009, American artist and illustrator R. Crumb’s “The Book of Genesis”, illustrated by R. Crumb. The book topped many bestseller lists, including #1 on the New York Times: Graphic Books list. The 207 drawings (pen and ink on paper) that are on display until March 24, 2010 at David Zwirner gallery in New York were produced for this book. “From Creation to the death of Joseph, Crumb chronicles all fifty chapters of Genesis in an astonishing tapestry of masterly detail and storytelling, rendered frame by frame in meticulous comic book fashion. With a literal interpretation primarily assembled from translations of Robert Alter and the King James Bible, Crumb reintroduces us to the bountiful tree lined garden of Adam and Eve, the massive ark of Noah with beasts of every kind, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed by brimstone and fire that rained from the heavens, and the Egypt of the Pharaoh, where Joseph’s embalmed body is carried in a coffin, in a scene as elegiac as any in Genesis. Using clues from the text and peeling away the theological and scholarly versions that have often obscured the Bible’s most dramatic stories, Crumb fleshes out a parade of Biblical originals: from the serpent in Eden, as a humanoid reptile; to Abraham’s wife Sarah, more fetching than most woman at 90; to God himself, patriarchal and white-bearded.” (Excerpt from the press release)
Robert Crumb (born 1943, Philadelphia) began drawing comics as a young boy. In the late 1960s he emerged as the leading figure in the underground comic movement. Since then, his influence has been immeasurable, from the first issue of Zap Comix in 1968; to his most recognized comic, Keep on Truckin’, which became a widely distributed fixture of pop culture in the late 1970s; from the adventures of his notorious characters Devil Girl, Fritz the Cat, and Mr. Natural; to being the subject of Terry Zwigoff’s 1995 documentary, Crumb.
R. Crumb: The Bible Illuminated: R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis is the artist’s second solo exhibition at David Zwirner gallery. Crumb was recently the focus of a touring solo exhibition, R. Crumb’s Underground, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, California (2007), which then traveled to the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (both 2008), the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, and the Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, California (both 2009). Crumb has had one-man exhibitions at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2005) and the Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany (2004). The Bible Illuminated: R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis was recently on view at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, California, and following David Zwirner it will travel to the Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon (June – September 2010). The artist currently lives in the south of France with his wife, Aline Kominsky Crumb, the American comic book artist known for her autobiographical stories.
R. Crumb: The Bible Illuminated: R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis / David Zwirner, New York. Opening reception, March 4, 2010.
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