R. Crumb's Book of Genesis at the Portland Art Museum, June 12 – September 19, 2010

(photo by Aaron Colter)

Robert Crumb at the Portland Art Museum?  It’s true.  All 207 individual pages from his ambitious adaptation of the Book of Genesis are on display this summer.  Seeing the artwork in person is awe inspiring.  The obsessively perfect brush strokes fill the page with black ink.  Yet all of his forms are rendered so clearly and naturally.  It’s also great to see the human touches on the page, little dabs of white out, a bit of the pencils underneath.  You can ponder the choices the artist made.  Why did he decide to white out that panel border and redo it?  The original looked fine…

I’m not sure if I’ll ever read the book from cover to cover, but at the exhibit I found myself focusing on single panels for minutes at a time.  I like how Crumb brings some excitement to even the driest parts of the story.  You know the genealogy stuff, so and so begat this guy, so and so begat these folks.

There’s an inconsequential line in chapter 26: “Esau was forty years old and he took as wives Judith, the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon the Hittite.  And they were a source of provocation to Isaac and to Rebekah.”

His interpretation is as scandalous as anything you’d see on a daytime talk show.  The two women are fighting in front of a tent, pulling hair and causing a ruckus.  Maybe all that lineage stuff was more gossipy and exciting back then if you had a vague sense of who these families and tribes were.

FREE admision to the Portland Art Museum on fourth Fridays from 6-8pm.  If you’re in town I recommend seeing the exhibit at least once.  Check their schedule for a full list of events.  They have guest speakers from the comics community and drawing workshops through August.  Also the NW Film Center is presenting two screenings to coincide with the exhibit.

This summer, the Museum will present the drama and sweep of the Book of Genesis as illustrated by the internationally celebrated artist R. Crumb. Organized by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles for a national tour, the exhibition of more than 200 drawings is the culmination of four years of labor by Crumb to illustrate every word of the fifty chapters that make up Genesis in the Bible.

Portland Art Museum

1219 SW Park Ave

Portland, OR 97205

For more information, visit specialexhibitions.pam.org/rcrumb/.

Northwest Film Center Films


Friday, July 2, 7pm

Saturday, July 3, 4:30 and 7pm

Director: Terry Zwigoff, US 1994

This documentary focuses on R. Crumb’s seminal work in the ’60s and ’70s.  Essential viewing for visitors to the R. Crumb exhibition. (119 mins.)


Saturday, July 31, 9:15pm

Sunday, August 1, 4:30pm

Director: Ron Mann, Canada 1988

This acclaimed documentary traces comic book art from the 1930s to the 1970s. (90 mins.)

Opening September 9th – Genesis P-Orridge Retrospective at Invisible-Exports in NYC

Invisible-Exports is proud to present a 30-year retrospective of collage works by performance artist, writer, musician and provocateur Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV). Genesis is also known among underground circles for he/r affiliations with Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs, both of whom greatly influenced he/r work. In recent years, P-Orridge began “an ongoing experiment in body modification aimed at creating one pandrogynous being,” received breast implants and started going by “s/he.” This retrospective will showcase the breadth of conceptual imagery (i.e. the “cut-up” technique of the early 20 century Surrealists and elements of Dada-ism) that P-Orridge has been working with in h/er collages over the course of the past three decades:

“30 Years of Being Cut Up” is a three decade retrospective of photomontage and Expanded Polaroids, which includes many works never exhibited before, as well as a sampling of P-Orridge’s early Mail Art. The show will mark the culmination of a new, re-emergent phase in BREYER P-ORRIDGE’s life. He/r career — and most particularly he/r recent pursuit of pandrogyny — tests the limits of transgression and traces the tragic fate of the underground, proving again the expressive power and pervasive influence of those artists who take the world not as it comes to them — sensible, orthodox, predictable — but as they would like it to be.

Opening Wednesday, September 9th, 6-8PM.
14A Orchard Street, just north of Canal / New York, NY 10002
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11- 6:30pm, and by appointment.
For more information, call 212 226 5447 or e-mail.

Genesis P-Orridge in conversation with Douglas Rushkoff, photographed by Shawn Mortensen: Arthur No. 2 (sold out)
Genesis P-Orridge’s ten favorite psychedelic folk songs: Arthur No. 13