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IntroductionThe fact that art and pop music can form a fruitful symbiosis has been clear at least since Andy Warhol collaborated with the Velvet Underground to create one of the most famous album covers of all time. Raymond Pettibon’s cover for Sonic Youth’s Goo was to Generation X what Warhol’s banana image was to the 1960s. The cover reached cult status amongst fans of alternative rock music and continues to adorn t-shirts and posters today. The young artist, who had been creating designs for bands in California’s punk scene for years, soon became known far beyond the subculture. Since the mid-80s, he has become more and more renowned on the international art scene.
Like Roy Lichtenstein before him, Pettibon creates art in a comic book style – yet the results could not be more different. As the former bassist for Black Flag – whose legendary logo he also created – Pettibon is deeply rooted in the counterculture, and his work is emblematic of the do-it-yourself aesthetic. His graphic style appears raw, wild, and uniquely unfinished. The Guardian appositely labelled the artist “Punk with a pencil”.
Language plays a central role in Pettibon’s artistic creations. He plays with references that range from literature to pop culture. The post-modern combination of high and low culture is integral to these pieces, and the artist captures it perfectly. His works include quotations from everyone from William Blake to Batman. The relationship between text and drawing often has a satirical edge, and is loaded with complex cultural allusions.
“Ohne Titel (Nature is Dumb)” depicts two human profiles facing in opposite directions. The heads are stone sculptures reminiscent of Easter Island statues – a subject that can be found elsewhere in Pettibon’s oeuvre. The text in the speech bubbles appears enigmatic and recursive. Though we may not grasp the significance of the linguistic content, we can appreciate the pure poetry of it.
Raymond Pettibon combines high culture and the underground in remarkable ways. The self-taught artist was the subject of a 2005 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and his work has been shown at documenta 11 and the Venice Biennale. He is a subcultural icon and an internationally recognized artist at the same time.
1957 Born in Tucson, USA 1977 Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of California Los Angeles, USA Lives and works in Los Angeles, USAAwards
2010 Oskar Kokoschka Prize 2004 Bucksbaum Award, Whitney Biennial 2001 Wolfgang Hahn PrizeCollections
Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin Friedrich Christian Flick Collection, Berlin The Falckenberg Collection, Hamburg Kunsthalle Bern, Bern Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris Francois Pinault Foundation, Venice Tate Britain, London Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago Museum of Modern Art, New York Whitney Museum of American Art, New YorkExhibitions
2014 Are your motives pure? Raymond Pettibon Surfers 1985 -2013, Venues Over Manhattan, New York City, USA 2013 Raymond Pettibon – To Wit, David Zwirner, New York City, USA 2012 Raymond Pettibon, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland 2011 Looker-Upper, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany 2011 Raymond Pettibon, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, USA 2010 Raymond Pettibon, Gladstone Gallery, Brussels, Belgium 2008 Raymond Pettibon – Thank You for Staying, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, USA 2007 Raymond Pettibon, Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover, Germany 2006 Whatever it is you’re looking for you won’t find it here, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria 2005 Raymond Pettibon – Drawing from the Modern, 1975 - 2005, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, USA 2005 Raymond Pettibon, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, USA 2002 Raymond Pettibon – Plots Laid Thick, Museum voor Actuele Kunst, The Hague, Netherlands 2001 Raymond Pettibon – Wolfgang-Hahn-Preisträger 2001, Museum Ludwig Köln, Cologne, Germany 2001 Raymond Pettibon, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK 2000 Raymond Pettibon, Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, Switzerland 1999 Raymond Pettibon, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA 1995 Raymond Pettibon, Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland
2014 Une Histoire, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France 2013 The Whole Earth, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany 2012 Tracing the Century – Drawing as a Catalyst for Change, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, UK 2012 This Will Have Been – Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s, ICA, London, UK 2012 Someday All the Adults Will Die! Punk Graphics 1971 - 1984, Hayward Gallery, London, UK 2012 This Will Have Been – Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, USA 2011 The Air We Breathe, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA 2011 Photography Calling, Sprengel Museum, Hanover, Germany 2011 Compass – Drawings from the Museum of Modern Art New York, Martin Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany 2010 Houdini – Art and Magic, The Jewish Museum of New York, New York City, USA 2010 Res Publica, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, Russia 2009 The Making of Art, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany 2009 Compass in Hand - Selections from the Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, USA 2009 The End, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, USA 2009 Sonic Youth etc. – Sensational Fix, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany 2008 Freeway Balconies, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany 2007 Sympathy for the Devil – Art and Rock and Roll since 1967, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, USA 2007 La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy 2007 There is Never a Stop and Never a Finish, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany 2006 Magritte and Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA 2006 Dark Places, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, USA 2005 Big Bang, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France 2004 Funny Cuts – Cartoons und Comics in der Zeitgenössischen Kunst, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany 2004 “I hate you“ – The Falckenberg Collection, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark 2002 documenta 11, Kassel, Germany 2001 A Way with Words, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, USA 1999 L.A., Sprüth Magers Projekte, Munich, Germany 1994 Mapping, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, USA