R. Crumb

50 Sublime Coffee Table Books for the True Sophisticate

Let’s face it: the coffee table book is not just a book; it’s an item designed to indicate the relative level of sophistication of its owner. It’s a fetish object which ideally turns the sophistication dial up to “high.” Displaying coffee table books is, thus, essentially an invitation to people to judge you. A lot of people go wrong there, in my opinion. So here are 50 books that should be populating your coffee table instead of the latest collection of Vanity Fair‘s photo… Read More

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Harry Benson’s Intimate Photos of Cultural Icons

A Scottish-born photographer, Harry Benson’s big break came when he started traveling with The Beatles in 1964. His photo of the band having an impromptu pillow fight at a Paris hotel quickly became part of rock ‘n’ roll history, but his six decades of imagery have captured more than just the music world. A steadfast photojournalist, Benson has shot portraits of every American president from Dwight Eisenhower to Barack Obama. Photographing for Life magazine from 1970 to 2000 and producing more than 100 cover shots for People, the talented lensman has enjoyed unlimited access to celebrities while also spending time in the trenches to report on protests and conflicts around the world.

The subject of an extended exhibition at Staley-Wise Gallery in New York, Benson presents his quirky images of Jacqueline Kennedy, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, R. Crumb, Andy Warhol, and Muhammad Ali, as well as a few recent portraits, including a dynamic 2007 shot of a vivacious Amy Winehouse. Click through to view a selection of our favorite photos from the show. … Read More

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Fascinating Illustrations From R. Crumb’s French Retrospective

America’s favorite underground artist, Robert Crumb was one of the originators of the “adults only” comic book scene that blossomed during the subversive days of the ’60s and ’70s. Both embraced and disdained for his absurdist, psychedelic view of American society, R. Crumb illustrated wild tales of sex-crazed amazons, hallucinating hippies, abusive cops, and bumbling businessmen. He coined the counterculture slogan “Keep on truckin…,” while making Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural comic book celebs. Breaking the taboos of the times, Crumb became famous for founding Zap Comix, which he first published in 1967, and got a second round of praise for reinvigorating the rebellious medium for a whole new group of punk-inspired artists in the 1980s, with his offbeat comic book Weirdo.

Living in the south of France since 1991, Crumb has recently taken on such revered subjects as Kafka and The Book of Genesis, which he painstakingly turned into a graphic novel. With no signs of slowing down, the underground icon is currently being celebrated with a retrospective, which is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue, at the Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris. Click through to view a selection of our favorite images from the show and to watch a video of Crumb discussing his lifetime of work at the museum. … Read More

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The Stories Behind 10 Great Album Covers by Famous Artists

What makes great album cover art, or rather, who? These memorable record cover artworks were born from close collaboration, or plucked by the musician’s discerning eye from a visual artist’s body of work, or created through some combination of the two. We’ve rounded up ten covers — some of the most iconic and a few somewhat obscure — made by famous artists and photographers, along with some quick liner notes about how they came to be. What do flowers have to do with Power, Corruption & Lies? Peel slowly and see… what? We answer all those questions and more below. … Read More

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Required Viewing: Essential Documentaries About Famous Artists

We’re happy if our previous roundup of feature films about artists inspired or rejuvenated any of your artistic or bohemian impulses. That said, pull up a chair. Let’s get real. Here you will find some of our favorite documentaries about artists, many of them current and some even freshly made. Dig out the heart of Louise Bourgeois’ gigantic spiders. Go behind Pablo Picasso’s brushstrokes. Wonder eternally if Banksy’s fooling you. Rebels, superstars, activists, eccentrics, con artists — they’re all here and they’re ready to tell you their story. … Read More

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10 Artist Romances With Mostly Happy Endings

“An artist should avoid falling in love with another artist, an artist should avoid falling in love with another artist, an artist should avoid falling in love with another artist…” reads Marina Abramović‘s artist manifesto. Cynical? Live with another performance artist in a van for a decade, and then decide.

Ah, artist couples. Their love is fraught with temperamental tension and lubricated by each others’ creative juices. How does it work? Let’s look at some famed artist romances that are still smearing their mark all over art history. … Read More

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10 Awesome Indie Comics Tattoos

If we had a nickel for every superhero comic tattoo we saw, we’d be set for life. So, while DC and Marvel are great and all, it’s always much more exciting to spot an arm adorned with images inspired by an indie or web comic artist we love. After the jump, we’ve rounded up ten of our favorites, from Daniel Clowes and Adrian Tomine to Frank Miller and R. Crumb. … Read More

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10 Awesome Books to Give Your Nonreading Friends

If you’re a reader, you know the dilemma. You may love to give and get books, but you’ve got at least a few friends or family members who just aren’t into what you’ve hand-picked and lovingly gift-wrapped for them. Never fear! We present our handy list of eye-candy books for even the toughest… Read More

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R. Crumb Explains the Varieties of Women to W Magazine

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.… Read More

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Yuck for Yucks: The Art of Basil Wolverton

Basil Wolverton’s drawings are a visually witty mishmash of human organs: glands, blistering skin, distended proboscises, eyes swinging from their sockets, and barnacle teeth pointed in every direction. A new show of his original drawings at New York’s Gladstone Gallery spans his career and range of style, from his first comic strip drawing to his late post-apocalyptic visions.… Read More

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