Paul Gravett interviews R. Crumb

Amy Crehore says: "There's a great new interview with R. Crumb by Paul Gravett. Crumb with be the focus of an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, France opening April 13, 2012."

201204181949You have been living in France since 1993. Do you feel remote from America and US pop culture, which were such an important part of your infuences, your creative mulch? Is that a problem?

I don’t feel remote from it, because in the modern world you can get anything, any movie, any book, music, any comic, you can read English language newspapers and magazines. The only thing I am remote from is the day-to-day life of the United States and when I lived in America, a lot of my work is a reaction to day-to-day life there. So that’s not there anymore and I don’t know what effect that has. When I got back there - I go back once or twice a year - after I’m there for a couple of weeks, the old contempt and disgust with America comes back over me again, probably even stronger than when I lived there. I can have contempt and disgust in France too! But in America, it’s so strong, it’s sick or something!

What do you dislike about France?

It’s a general disgust with humanity. I’m in Paris right now and we just came back from going on the Metro and you look at humanity and it’s just appalling, appalling out there! (Laughter) I’m no better, I don’t think I’m superior or anything. If I look in the mirror, I have the same reaction.

At least the French respect artists and creators a bit better?

No, the French have such a bullshit attitude about art. The bullshit is so thick here, it’s ridiculous. The French government supports art, there are a lot of art subventions, I don’t know why, they give a lot of money. Lots of people get on this bandwagon and make such terrible, terrible art, all over France.

What do you think of comics-inspired French fine artists like Herve Di Rosa?

Yeah, kinda interesting. And the other guy, Robert Combas. But there’s not enough nutrients in it for me. Guys like that are jockeying for position in the art world. Outsider artists, who aren’t looking for a place in galleries, to me are much more authentic and genuine, crazy people, working in isolation, that to me is much more interesting. In the world of comics where I come from, ninety-nine per cent of it is uninteresting to me, it’s vacuous and slick.
Paul Gravett interviews R. Crumb

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  1. Crumb’s genius art is the ultimate proof that we need everyone on this planet, even a guy with just one eye looking in through his ass hole.

  2. Jesus, what a whinger. “Oh, the French appreciate and have more respect for comics, allowing me to have exhibitions in national galleries and attend national conventions and earn more money and attention.

    But that’s bad because it allows other artists I don’t like to produce work.”
    Crumb does not come across well here.

    1. What do you dislike about France?

      It’s a general disgust with humanity.

      I’ll give him some credit for candor here, but yeah, guy, we know. It bleeds off every page you’ve ever drawn.

      I’m not denying his talent, although I’m not raving about it either. But of all the schticks, that’s the one whose appeal I’ve never understood at all. (And I’m a miserable jerk who likes comix, so I ought to be his target audience.)

  3. “The French government supports art, there are a lot of art subventions, I don’t know why, they give a lot of money. Lots of people get on this bandwagon and make such terrible, terrible art, all over France. ”

    OK Bob !   You re kind of right but me, I would say that here in France, people would think I am a fascist or that I vote for Sarkozy because it s the kind of reform it tried to do about art and subventions so the Art market is more free with “good artist making good art ” and bad artist changing job because they are not good at what they do… it make sense though.

    But coming from as american liberal lefty artist , I am kind of confused !!

    So Art has to be bankable to be art ?  Or is art only marketing ?

    1.  Or, maybe, what’s leftist in the US is still a good deal to the right of the center almost anywhere else?

  4. We just came back from going on the Metro and you look at humanity and it’s just appalling.

    Mr Crumb should try the one in Barcelona, my lingering impression is that the Catalans are really, really cool both above and underground, without any douchiness whatsoever.

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