Item description for Hans Ulrich Obrist & Robert Crumb: The Conversation Series (The Conversation) by Robert Crumb & Hans-Ulrich Obrist...
This out-of-sequence first volume in Hans Ulrich Obrist's Conversation Series is devoted to the influential cult comics artist, Robert Crumb-creator of Fritz the Cat, Zap Comics and Mr. Natural, among many other iconic underground mainstays. Both Obrist and Crumb are great conversationalists, and here they make a great match: Obrist: Could you tell me a little bit about how you feel about America and world politics right now? Crumb: Well, when I was young I really believed in the revolution. I don't really believe in revolution any more; I'm too old now. I think that any violent over-turning of a government or society causes a reaction that is bad or worse than the thing that they were revolting against to begin with... In the early 1970s I believed in that whole thing. I had basically left-wing sympathies but, I don't know, as someone said about communism: great idea, wrong species!
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.25" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.25" Weight: 0.2 lbs.
Release Date Dec 15, 2007
Publisher Walther Konig
ISBN 3883759481 ISBN13 9783883759487
Availability 0 units.
More About Robert Crumb & Hans-Ulrich Obrist
Hans Ulrich Obrist is an art critic and Co-Director of the Serpentine Gallery in London.
Reviews - What do customers think about Hans Ulrich Obrist & Robert Crumb: The Conversation Series (The Conversation)?
High end art isn't for Crumb Apr 4, 2008
If there's one clear message that comes through in this interview with R. Crumb, it's that he has a deep connection with what he calls "lowbrow" culture, and a deep suspicion of "professional" critics, art entrepeneurs, museum curators, and trendsetters from the "highbrow" art scene. From his earliest days, Crumb has appreciated certain "established" artists, but he's felt much more comfortable with folk art and popular culture. They have a ring of authenticity that, to him, is sadly lacking in institutionalized art.
Hans Ulrich Obrist, a London-based commentator on the arts, conducted this intelligent and revealing interview with Crumb, who was 61 at the time. Although short, the interview ranged across a wide spectrum of topics that included Crumb's personal life, his political and artistic views, and his future projects. Some of the material is familiar to anyone who knows anything about Crumb. But some of it is either brand new, or fascinating elaborations on brief comments Crumb has made elsewhere.
For example, Crumb argues that the best thing about the pop art movement was that it encouraged the public to really look at everyday objects which, because of their familiarity, are frequently taken for granted (p. 21). This refocusing on the quotidian in such a way as to help the reader see it freshly is, after all, one of the hallmarks of Crumb's work (as also the work, for example, of Harvey Pekar). Visual and musical arts have suffered from commercialization that both creates canned pieces and "professionalizes" art by segregating it from the everyday (pp. 23-26).
Crumb claims to no longer be terribly political, although he does confess that he once believed in revolution (p. 31). Now, he worries that the post-9/11 U.S. is turning toward fascism, and that the American public, intent above all on security, is willing to give up freedom for the promise of safety (p. 32). In fact, Crumb sees this as a portent of the future, which in his eyes is more likely to be dystopian than utopian(pp. 35-36).
Throughout the interview, Crumb comes across as a guy who's both reflective and well-read. He comfortably discusses books (Kunstler's The City in Mind, Sacco's Palestine, Brzezinski's The Grand Chessboard, and Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities) as well as the high-end art he claims to disdain. He doesn't like the turmoil of big cities and doesn't use the internet, presumably because he needs quiet to think and create. In short, as he ages, Crumb seems is growing into a Mr. Natural-type of persona.
Now, for the bad news. The book is horribly over-priced to have a mere 44 pages of text; the publication date (2006) gives the impression that the interview is much more recent than it is (it was actually recorded in 2004); and the text is sprinkled with bad translations, although they're sometimes rather endearing--such as "beholding" for "beholden" (p. 41). But none of this takes away from the quality of the questions Obrist asks or the quality of the responses Crumb gives. Highly recommended, both for Crumb fans and students of popular culture in general.