World renowned American cartoonist Robert Crumb has pulled out of his headline appearance at the Graphic arts festival in Sydney later this month.
He made the decision after being described in a Sydney newspaper as a "self-confessed sex pervert" and a "very warped human being".
Crumb, 67, who was among the founders of the underground comix movement in the 1960s and whose characters include Mr Natural and Fritz the Cat, was to be the main attraction at the second annual Graphic festival to be held at Sydney Opera House on August 20 and 21.
The artist, who is based in France, told The Australian yesterday (08/08/2011) he had withdrawn from making his first appearance in Australia because of the nasty nature of an article in The Sunday Telegraph, owned by News Limited, publisher of The Australian.
The newspaper's story on July 31 featured the headline "Cult genius or filthy weirdo". In it, anti-child abuse campaigner Hetty Johnston described Crumb's work as "crude and perverted images emanating from what is clearly a sick mind".
"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."
The artist is famous for his often sexually explicit illustrations, some of which have featured scenes of bestiality and rape. "I do these crazy cartoons," he said. "I have no defence. I just have to throw up my hands."
Crumb wrote to Graphic co-curator Jordan Verzar on Monday to confirm his withdrawal. "I told him that I'm not coming and to cancel the whole thing," the artist said. A festival spokesperson said Verzar had last night asked Crumb to reconsider his decision.
The Graphic event is a weekend of storytelling, animation and music featuring local and overseas artists. Australian singer and songwriter Gotye and artist-musician Reg Mombassa are among those scheduled to appear.
Source: The Australian