Critics’ Picks

William Crawford, untitled, c. 1990s, pencil on paper, 11 x 8".


William Crawford

Delmes & Zander | Berlin
Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 37
July 3–August 22

With the requisite anomalous art brut backstory—a box of hundreds of his obsessive pornographic drawings found in an abandoned house, their creator untraceable, now suddenly being shown by the likes of David Zwirner—William Crawford seems poised to be anointed the newest contemporary Perv Poet of the Pencil. Sketching his fantasies on whatever paper surfaces he had at his disposal (some of which are the duty rosters of a California correctional facility, suggesting that the artist was likely imprisoned for a lengthy period), the resulting untitled works, all dated to the 1990s, represent a great exercise in ideality porn: heroines rendered in graphite with strong, muscular bodies and enormous breasts crowned with succulent nipples, evoking a hetero counterpart to Tom of Finland.

Often, a man takes part in the action and it’s almost always the same one—a black guy with a feminine face and a mustache, leading some to speculate that it’s Crawford himself. “I like to be awaken [sic] with my dick being sucked and my face covered with pussy,” the man announces in a cartoon bubble in one drawing, while two female bodybuilder-types prepare to please him. In another, the gentleman is clothed in overalls, taking a perky-titted maiden with ox-strong legs from behind over a washbasin. Her tongue sticks out as if she’s dehydrated, and one foot’s tiptoes stab the tiled floor while her second leg elegantly curls around his. Chez Crawford, you can either be a buxom bitch or a donkey-donged stud. It’s all rather limited, but there’s also a certain joy in the exactitude produced by desperation.