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Mr. Unnatural at Society of Illustrators

I recall when an underground cartoonist was literally thrown out of the Society of Illustrators. Now the screw has turned and R. Crumb is being retrospected in the hallowed halls once the dominion of the Saturday Evening Post cover kings.

Curated by Monte Beauchamp, editor of Blab and Blab World, the opening reception of R.Crumb: Line Drawn On Paper will take place at the Museum of American Illustration on March 25, 2011 at 7:00pm. Originals, including those shown here, will be on display.

“Robert and Aline will be there,” says Beauchamp. “And Robert and his band are playing at the Society the following night, but tickets have all sold out–they literally flew out the door.” So, since I can’t get to see Crumb play, I asked Beauchamp about the show:

Why did you curate this exhibition? I love the Society of Illustrators, what they stand for and the vast history behind them. Rube Goldberg used to hang out there. Above the upstairs bar hangs a five foot Norman Rockwell original painting. I always feel energized whenever I visit there.

Last year, during opening night of the “BLAB Retrospectiive” the turnout was so phenomenal, their director, Anelle Miller, and I began talking about the possibility of another show, so I inquired if they might like one on R. Crumb.

Crumb has never been a Society of Illustrators artist. Why now? Crumb started out as an illustrator with American Greeting Card Co.  These days, in addition to comics, he Illustrates CD covers and covers for the New Yorker. A show of his work at the Society seemed like such an appropriate choice.

Where do you, as a chronicler and historian of comix, feel Crumb will reside in the history of art? As with Gershwin, Picasso, and Hemminway, at the TOP.

(See last night’s Nightly Heller on branding Colonel Qaddafi.)



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