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

CRUMB

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.)

COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL

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.)

The Diggers Papers No. 18: another BEDROCK ONE event flyer/poster

Arthur is proud to present scans of essential documents produced by and about the San Francisco Diggers, who were in many ways the epicentral actors in the Haight-Ashbury during the epic, wildly imaginative period from late ’66 through ’67. The Diggers’ ideas and activities are essential counter-cultural history, sure, but they are also especially relevant to the current era, for reasons that should be obvious to the gentle Arthur reader.

Most of the documents that we are presenting are broadsides originally published on a Gestetner machine owned and operated in the Haight by the novelist/poet Chester Anderson and his protege/sidekick Claude Hayward, who used the name “Communication Company,” or more commonly, “Com/Co.” According to Claude, these broadsides were then “handed out on the street, page by page, super hot media, because the reader trusted the source, which was another freaky looking hippie who had handed it to him/her.”

This particular Com/Co document is a flyer/poster/broadside by an unknown artist advertising BEDROCK ONE, a March 5, 1967 event organized by Anderson himself. (See Robert Crumb’s flyer for the same event here.)

Check out that lineup, a real who’s who of the contemporary Haight-Ashbury arts/life scene: the Steve Miller Band, the Orkustra (the band led by guitarist Bobby Beausoleil, who would later be associated with both Kenneth Anger and Charles Manson), poet Richard Brautigan, the infamous street agitators San Francisco Mime Troupe, the San Francisco League for Sexual Freedom, the Lysergic Power & Light Company, and more.

More on Bedrock One in coming days…

Click on the image to see at a larger size…

Diggers19

The Diggers Papers No. 17: BEDROCK ONE event flyer/poster by R. Crumb (late Feb '67)

Arthur is proud to present scans of essential documents produced by and about the San Francisco Diggers, who were in many ways the epicentral actors in the Haight-Ashbury during the epic, wildly imaginative period from late ’66 through ’67. The Diggers’ ideas and activities are essential counter-cultural history, sure, but they are also especially relevant to the current era, for reasons that should be obvious to the gentle Arthur reader.

Most of the documents that we are presenting are broadsides originally published on a Gestetner machine owned and operated in the Haight by the novelist/poet Chester Anderson and his protege/sidekick Claude Hayward, who used the name “Communication Company,” or more commonly, “Com/Co.” According to Claude, these broadsides were then “handed out on the street, page by page, super hot media, because the reader trusted the source, which was another freaky looking hippie who had handed it to him/her.”

This particular Com/Co document is a flyer/poster/broadside by a pre-fame Robert Crumb advertising BEDROCK ONE, a March 5, 1967 event organized by Anderson himself. Check out that lineup, a real who’s who of the contemporary Haight-Ashbury arts/life scene: the Steve Miller Band, the Orkustra (the band led by guitarist Bobby Beausoleil, who would later be associated with both Kenneth Anger and Charles Manson), poet Richard Brautigan, the infamous street agitators San Francisco Mime Troupe, the San Francisco League for Sexual Freedom, the Lysergic Power & Light Company, and more.

More on Bedrock One in coming days…

Click on the image to see at a larger size…

Diggers18a