More doodler than draftsman, R. Crumb’s off-kilter drawings of madmen, loose women, alienation, and domestic strife are not your average Sunday comics. His cult status, further cemented with the 1994 release of the documentary Crumb, has evolved into the realm of “fine art”: he’s represented by uber-gallery David Zwirner, his rendition of the entire Book of Genesis is currently exhibited at LA’s Hammer Museum, and his work is included in 1969, a major modern retrospective at PS1. All the more interesting that Crumb — an artist occasionally censured for his “sexist” depictions of women and “racist” stereotyping — was tapped by W magazine for a commissioned feature in the November issue. Click through for excerpts.
In his work commissioned for W, Crumb “offers his take on the history of women, from zaftig cave dwellers to Playboy Playmates.” Tracing the role of females from mythology to the Victorian asylum to the prison of Abu Ghraib, Crumb invents wild narrative while also drawing from his own life, as in the schoolgirl sketches taken from portraits in his high school yearbook.
Wonder if Bukowski would approve?