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Art & Beauty Magazine: Drawings by R. Crumb

Introduction by Paul Morris

One of America’s most celebrated cartoonists, Robert Crumb helped define cartoon and punk subcultures of the 1960s and 1970s with comic strips like Fritz the CatMr. Natural, and Keep on Truckin’. The open sexuality of his work, paired with frequent self-deprecation and a free, almost stream-of-consciousness style, have made Crumb into a global voice and a renowned contemporary artist.

Originally published by Kitchen Sink Press in 1996, Art & Beauty Magazine, Number 1 is at once a satirical take on aesthetics and a continued exploration of Crumb’s subversion of sexuality and mainstream values. Drawings of women in positions ranging from lascivious to modest or mid-sport are accompanied by quotations, many of which are from artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Harvey Kurtzman. Mining his own obsessions and fantasies, Crumb reimagines the history of art, challenging notions of beauty, along with society’s mores and expectations of propriety around the female form. The second volume of Art & Beauty, published in 2003, expanded on the first, adding all new drawings (also of women) and quotations, likewise taken from the history of art and aesthetics. The effect of both volumes is undeniably destabilizing. The images appeal to a purely erotic sensibility, which in turn is undercut by the inclusion of highfalutin and frequently philosophical prose. The images drag philosophy back down to earth, while the writing challenges the pure eroticism of Crumb’s drawings.

The eagerly awaited Art & Beauty, Number 3 is released for the first time as part of Art & Beauty Magazine: Drawings by R. Crumb. It is published on the occasion of Crumb's exhibition at David Zwirner, London, which debuts the new work he created for the magazine’s third issue. Presenting all three volumes in one book, Art & Beauty Magazine is arranged chronologically and guides the reader through the twenty-year history of Crumb’s magazine, from the earliest images in the 1990s to the most recent drawings completed in 2016. Paul Morris, longtime gallerist and supporter of Crumb’s practice, writes an introduction that contextualizes this body of work and the artist’s career as a whole. This beautiful edition, with a cover specially designed by Crumb for its release, makes the initial two issues available for the first time in over ten years, and presents the new and previously unpublished material from the third. For seasoned supporters and novices alike, Art & Beauty Magazine: Drawings by R. Crumb is a wonderful window into Crumb’s world of bodies and ideas, art and beauty. A limited edition of 400 signed copies is published as well.

“The drawings in Art and Beauty Magazine are classic Crumb renditions: full-figured women, clothed and nude, rendered in bold lines and detailed crosshatching that vividly delineate their forms.”

– Calvin Reid, Publishers Weekly

“Crumb is one of the great treasures of illustration. Cumb’s drawings in this book not only show why women are beautiful, but why life is beautiful… I’m glad this book exists. I’m glad it is mine.”

– Nick Gazin, Vice

Art & Beauty is a “fascinating, nuanced, multifaceted body of work - and a testament to one of the world’s most unique artists at the height of his powers.”

– Gabriel Coxhead, Time Out London

“[Crumb] continues to draw [women] prolifically and passionately… Crumb’s portrayals of women in 2016 are still deeply divisive, but they also interact in an intriguing new way with the current discourse on beauty.”

– Charlotte Jansen, Artsy

Art & Beauty “is a mix of highbrow musings on beauty teamed with Crumb's own typically lurid artwork.”

– Ian McQuaid, i-D

“Crumb’s talent for crosshatching complements his thick ink outlines, which round away the photorealism of his sources, lending them a simplified, exaggerated form.”

– Rob Sharp, The New York Times, T Magazine

“Crumb is sincere in his ardour, knowing in his politics.”

– Oliver Basciano, The Guardian

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