Weekly Update – Robert Crumb’s Mr. Natural Wonders

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This week’s Weekly has my A-list review of Robert Crumb: “My True Inner Self” at Rosenwald Wolf Gallery. Below is the copy with a couple pictures. And here’s Libby’s post and my flickr pictures.

Crumb_c.1970_sketchbook_1.jpg
Robert Crumb’s sketchbook page showing a character who reminds me of Homer Simpson (upper right). This show will be a revelation to young students many of whom have never heard of Crumb.

If Robert Crumb hadn’t created Mr. Natural, Fritz the Cat and his other sex-crazed raunchy characters with bulging pants and snotty noses in Zap Comix in the 1960s, how could our culture ever have given rise to The Simpsons or South Park? When a sweaty schlub from a 1960s Crumb sketchbook says, “Gulp! I suddenly realized! I’m a horrible person!” there are echoes of Homer Simpson’s “Doh!” Crumb, the reclusive genius chronicled in a great documentary and featured in untold articles and books, grew up in Philly. But until now he’s never had a solo show here. His exhibit at Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery presents original drawings from the early ’60s to 2004 and shows the idiosyncratic workaholic drawing on lined paper, graph paper and restaurant placemats and napkins—that is, just about any surface but acid-free drawing paper.

R. Crumb sketchbook
Curator Sid Sachs flips through Crumb’s sketchbook which, I believe he said was worth half a million dollars.

The ’60s-era sketchbook is especially rich background material. It conveys the fertile imagination and manic exuberance of the artist once considered “just” a comic book artist but now embraced by the art world as our century’s Daumier, Goya or Brueghel.

Robert Crumb: “My True Inner Self, Through Feb. 27. Free. Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, University of the Arts, 333 S. Broad St. 215.717.6480.

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