On Thursday, the David Zwirner Gallery in London debuted new drawings by cartoonist R. Crumb for the third installment of his Art & Beauty magazine. Art & Beauty was first published in 1996 and inspired by an early 20th century publication of the same name, which produced semi-erotic images of life models for art lovers and aspiring artists.
Following in this tradition, but with his own sense of humor and iconic style, Crumb has created portraits of modern day women based on photographs of celebrities, close friends, and even complete strangers. Featuring the likes of Serena Williams and the artist’s wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb, the drawings represent “a satirical take on aesthetics and beauty” while revealing the artist’s own fascination with the female form.
R. Crumb rose to fame as a founding member of the underground comics scene in the 1960s and ’70s. Among his most beloved comic strips are Fritz the Cat, Mr. Natural and Keep on Truckin’. Crumb is also known for his hyper-sexual portrayal of women – his obsession with curvaceous bottoms and muscular legs are unabashedly displayed in his drawings for Art & Beauty. His fetishization of women’s bodies and brutally honest attitude towards sex has made him a controversial figure in the art world.
Crumb’s new portraits will be on view at the David Zwirner Gallery through June 2, 2016, the largest presentation of the series to date.