Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

CrumbDe l'Underground à la Genèse

The Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris presents a premiere retrospective exhibit on one of the greatest illustrators of the past fifty years: Robert Crumb. One of the pioneers of Underground comics, he represents a mythical figure in American counter-culture. His satirical stories tear down moral constraints and provide a sharp critique of society, its shadows and absurdities.

The drawings of Robert Crumb appeared for the first time in France in 1970, on the cover of the magazine Actuel, which used illustrations previously published in theUnited States. A prolific author, his work has had a profound influence on two generations of comic artists. With a heavy and flowing stroke, easily recognisable, he challenged the limits of the comic strip. Crumb explores different subjects through his drawings: family, sex, music, hippies, money, etc…but his greatest source of inspiration is himself. He is quick to bare all by relating his obsessions, his relationships with women and his ideas on life. But whatever the intensity and sometimes cruelty of his perspectives on these themes, he treats these subjects with a very personal brand of humour.

At the age of 7, Robert Crumb began to draw regularly. He created his heroes Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural in 1959 and 1967, respectively. In 1968, in the midst of the hippie explosion in San Francisco, he experienced his first success after creating the first issue of the magazine Zap. Inspired by music from the 1920s and 1930s, he drew numerous portraits of musicians and album covers. In the 1980s, he directed the magazine Weirdo and illustrated the writings of Bukowski and Sartre. In the 1990s, he produced a biography of Kafka in collaboration with David Zane Mairowitz and two anthologies of drawings Art & Beauty. In 2009 he published an illustrated Genesis after four years of work. Released in 2011, the book Parle-moi d’Amour [Drawn Together], which resembles an intimate illustrated journal, is the result of a collaboration begun in 1972 with his wife Aline.

The chronological exhibit is designed around Crumb’s obsessions: love/hate/fear of women, music, his raw perspective on the modern world and his introspection. It brings together rare documents and works: over 700 drawings, sketchbooks visitors may flip through, over 200 Underground magazines and the famous documentary Crumb by Terry Zwigoff, produced in 1994.

Robert Crumb, born in 1943 in Philadelphia, has lived in Francesince 1991. Most of his work has been published in French by Cornélius and Denoël Graphic and in English by Fantagraphics Books and W. W. Norton.