R. Crumb's Underground
Curated by Todd Hignite
July 11-August 16, 2009
Opening Reception July 11, 2009 7-10pm*
*Special Opening Reception Due to Independence Day
* Free guided cell phone tours with audio recordings by R.Crumb daily! 408.794.2814
*Free docent group tours of the exhibition and building 11-4pm every day (Closed Monday)
Call 714.567.7233 to schedule.
On July 11, 2009, Grand Central Art Center becomes the only Southern California venue to exhibit the Yerba Buena's Center for the Arts traveling exhibition, R.Crumb's Underground. This exhibition salutes local San Francisco treasure Robert Crumb with an eclectic exhibit of early work, collaborations old and new, and the world premiere of his "spool" drawings. Universally acknowledged as the founder of the underground comic scene, Crumb gained cult popularity for his pioneering Zap Comix and stardom with the Terry Zwigoff documentary, Crumb. Extending far beyond comics, the YBCA traveling exhibit shows how his work has grown in philosophical complexity, and highlights his collaborative work, including intimate confessions produced with wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb.
Todd Hignite, Guest Curator
Robert Crumb is the quintessential underground artist. His masterfully rendered comics and sketchbook drawings of the last forty years, markedly lacking in concession or self-censorship, offer a profound cultural critique filtered through demanding psychological self-reflection. Crumb's art, which pioneered the transformation of comics into an adult literary form, addresses a plethora of personal and political themes within a multidimensional narrative framework. The work starkly depicts sex, violence, and race, among other subjects, offering revelatory insight into the human condition within the snarled jumble of a radically changing America. He combines the keen critical voice of the master satirist with some of the most impressive draftsmanship seen in contemporary visual art, and his work has proved endlessly insightful, controversial, and original.
Although rejection of mainstream culture and high art has been a hallmark of Crumb's adamantly alternative cultural vision, in the past few years the art world has cautiously embraced his work, which is exhibited in many of the world's most prestigious art institutions and sold through blue-chip galleries. The irony of an outcast being the center of attention may signify to some an abdication of Crumb's original iconoclastic fire. This sentiment misses the truth of the matter, which is that the art world, having moved beyond its pronounced prejudice against the twin embarrassments of narrative and illustration, has only now caught up with Crumb and his earthy, hand-rendered passions.
Presented in a contemporary fine arts environment, this exhibition confers on Crumb the full range of importance merited by his wide contributions to visual culture. At the same time, the show recasts Crumb as a collaborative being in order to avoid the specious contention that Crumb's rise was due to solitary genius. Crumb's voice is realized through inspiring relationships with his era, community, and family. Neglecting these connections would distort the value he brings to the moment: the claim that life's direct intrusion upon the art-making process is legitimate, however radical, idiosyncratic, and alternative those influences may be.
R. Crumb's Undergroundis organized by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco and curated by Todd Hignite. The exhibition is coordinated for the Grand Central Art Center by Dennis Cubbage, director of exhibitions.
This exhibition is partially funded by the generous support of Symbolic Collections
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