David Zwirner is pleased to present The Bible Illuminated: R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis, the artist's second solo exhibition at the gallery.
These drawings–207 extraordinary individual works of pen and ink on paper–were produced for his now landmark The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb (W.W. Norton), published in October 2009. Five years in the making and released to instant critical acclaim, the eagerly awaited book topped many bestseller lists, including #1 on the New York Times: Graphic Books list.
From Creation to the death of Joseph, Crumb chronicles all fifty chapters of Genesis in an astonishing tapestry of masterly detail and storytelling, rendered frame by frame in meticulous comic book fashion. With a literal interpretation primarily assembled from translations of Robert Alter and the King James Bible, Crumb reintroduces us to the bountiful tree lined garden of Adam and Eve, the massive ark of Noah with beasts of every kind, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed by brimstone and fire that rained from the heavens, and the Egypt of the Pharaoh, where Joseph's embalmed body is carried in a coffin, in a scene as elegiac as any in Genesis. Using clues from the text and peeling away the theological and scholarly versions that have often obscured the Bible's most dramatic stories, Crumb fleshes out a parade of Biblical originals: from the serpent in Eden, as a humanoid reptile; to Abraham's wife Sarah, more fetching than most woman at 90; to God himself, patriarchal and white-bearded.
Crumb's first exhibition at David Zwirner was in May 2007, soon after the artist joined the gallery, and featured close to sixty figurative works spanning from 1965 to 2005.