Friday, January 15, 2010

#98: The Hammer Museum

photos from

What happens when you mix comic book illustrations and the Bible? You get Robert Crumb's Book Of Genesis Exhibit at the Hammer Museum.

I went this past Thursday evening (the museum's free on Thursdays and open till 9 pm) expecting something much more incendiary. However, what I saw were quite literal illustrations of the book of Genesis that I thought were about as controversial as a Batman comic... Pages and pages of it--224 to be exact! I can't imagine anyone reading through the whole thing during one visit. Me, I got to page 86--and this was skimming--when my eyes got tired and I gave up.

I thought the concept of this exhibit was brilliant. Crumb took the actual text from Genesis and broke it up into comic book "chapters". He did a good amount of research into the clothing, architecture and culture of Biblical times and then illustrated the chapters as accurately as he could. He writes in the preface that his goal wasn't to cheapen the message of the Bible, but merely to illustrate it. It's mind boggling to think of the amount of time and work (and re-work... you can see the white out marks if you look very closely) that went into these pages. Click here for an interview with Crumb talking about this exhibit.

There are so many great exhibits at the Hammer Museum, you never know what you'll find. For example, who would have thought you'd see tarp origami in a museum?

Origami tarp guy playing piano

As a bonus, the Hammer Museum also hosts Also, I Like to Rock (#41) on Thursday evenings in July. Calling all Westside hipsters!

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