Robert Crumb: ‘I am no longer a slave to a raging libido’
The controversial artist talks about his latest exhibition, how his feelings on Trump have changed and why he has stopped drawing women
Robert Crumb has always been known as the bad boy of the comics world. He has filled sketchbooks with smutty drawings of women, made offensive remarks and still manages to show at a top New York art gallery with fans waiting for an autograph.
Print: Mind Fucks, Kultur Klashes, Pulp Fiction & Pulp Fact by the Illustrious R Crumb is his latest exhibition, which runs until 19 April at David Zwirner gallery in New York. Showcasing old comic books from the 1960s to sketchbooks, a cartoon about Donald Trump and a portrait of Stormy Daniels, it traces Crumbs path as pervert in chief which marks the end of an era.
Because Crumb has stopped drawing women.
The Philadelphia-born artist was a key figure in the counterculture movement in San Francisco during the sexual revolution and has now decided to stop showcasing the female form. Perhaps it was the result of the #MeToo movement?
I dont even look at women any more, said Crumb in New York. I try not to even think about women any more. It helps that Im now 75 years old and am no longer a slave to a raging libido.
Its a marked difference from a time when his work was typified by thick-thighed pin-up women and even in his 2016 series Art & Beauty, he featured a bathroom mirror selfie of a 21-year-old model who voluntarily emailed him nudes.
When I was young, I was just obsessed with sexual desire, fantasizing about sex, masturbation, trying to figure out how to get laid. It was awful, said Crumb. Fortunately for me, I found a way to express this inner turbulence in my comics, otherwise I mightve ended up in jail or in a mental institution. No exaggeration. Im better now. I worked it all out somehow. Success and the love of real women helped me a lot. Aline really saved my dismal ass.
Hes referring to Aline Kominsky-Crumb, his wife of 41 years, a cartoonist in her own right and collaborator. But not everything has changed since the Summer of Love. While pointing out the pretty portraits of his wife, Crumb reveals his other lovers, too.
There are a lot of drawings in this show of other women Ive been involved with intimately, both before and during my relationship with Aline, said Crumb. We have a kind of open marriage, bohemian artists and libertines that we are.