Until August 19, 2012, the Musée d’art moderne de Paris (Museum of Modern Art of Paris, also known as the MAM) is presenting a retrospective of one of the most enduringly controversial figures of modern art today. The exhibition, entitled Crumb, from Underground to Genesis, presents Robert Crumb, a notorious underground comic book artist. Crumb has been known for decades thanks to a body of work composed of bizarre comics and drawings that often take on controversial subjects.
One of Crumb’s major subjects has always been women, and his drawings revolving around women are well represented by this MAM exhibition. Crumb’s drawings have been seen by women as both degrading and liberating, and some of Crumb’s work — like a book written with his second wife, Aline — would suggest that he takes women’s equality seriously. The exhibit leaves this question open, so visitors will have to make up their own minds.
Visitors staying at any of the Grands Hotels Parisiens who are curious to discover this interesting figure will find that the MAM has provided the perfect opportunity to do so. Crumb has a soft spot for France and even ended up moving to a small French village called Gard. Perhaps it is not by coincidence that Crumb took a liking to France. After all, the country did recognize his talents early — as early as 1969, when the French newspaper ‘Action’ published his drawings. By 1972, the Musée des art décoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts) was presenting his work as part of an exhibition on humorous drawings and dissent. The current MAM exhibit presents several posters that Crumb created on behalf of environmental preservation initiatives in the village of Gard.
The exhibit is also presenting 210 comic strips that represent Crumb’s interpretation of the Book of Genesis. Crumb — never one to fear controversial topics — took on themes of God and creation in order to craft this collection of comic strips, which was published a few years ago and translated into 17 different languages.