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From left: R. Crumb, poster for “Robert Crumb: Yeah, But Is It Art?” Museum Ludwig, 2004. R. Crumb, cover of Fritz the Cat, 1969.

Robert Crumb

Museum Ludwig, Cologne

“Yeah, but is it art?” R. Crumb’s comic-strip alter ego asked on the poster for this eponymous retrospective at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. For many audiences, the question might have seemed beside the point. After all, comics have historically been an integral part of cultural heritage in countries like France and Belgium (consider Moebius’s Blueberry or Hergé’s Tintin). Even within the world of fine art, they have seeped in from the margins at least as far back as Joan Miró and Kurt Schwitters, and since Pop art this entertaining medium has widely been considered a worthy source by artists. Indeed, the decision to mount a Crumb exhibition seemed a fitting one for the Ludwig, whose collection of Pop (the largest outside the United States) includes work by artists like Öyvind Fahlström, who makes explicit reference to Crumb, as well as by such Pop descendants as Raymond Pettibon, who

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