R. Crumb Will Not Show at Graphic Arts Festival in Sydney After Harsh Criticism

Image from R. Crumb's Book of Genesis

Robert Crumb pulled out of the Graphic Arts Festival in Sydney according to Artforum. Mr. Crumb was billed as the event’s “main attraction,” but the artist withdrew after Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph published an article called “Cult Genius or Filthy Weirdo.” The piece had a different title for its online version: “Smutty Show a Comic Outrage.”

The article’s lede is, “A self-confessed sex pervert whose explicit comic drawings cannot be shown in Australia is to deliver a talk and hold a special exhibition at the Sydney Opera House” and it only got worse from there. There are quotes from sexual assault crisis groups and an anti-child abuse campaigner who called one drawing the work of the “depraved thought processes of this very warped human being.”

How subtle.

Mr. Crumb responded by saying:

“It was strong stuff and it made me look very, very bad,” Crumb said. “All it takes is a few people who overreact to something like that to show up and cause unpleasantness. I have a lot of anxiety about having to confront some angry sexual assault crisis group. I do these crazy cartoons. I have no defense. I just have to throw up my hands.”