Raymond Pettibon Plots on Loan 2000

  • Not on view

Raymond Pettibon's darkly poetic work takes the form of pen-and-ink drawings incorporating brief handwritten texts. He started as an artist by designing album covers for his brother's punk rock band Black Flag in the late 1970s. In 1978 he began making photocopied compilations of his drawings as books, with more than one hundred titles issued to date. An underground figure for many years before he received art-world attention in the early 1990s, Pettibon originally sold these books in comic-book and record stores in his hometown of Los Angeles.

Pettibon's style developed initially from cartoons, although he has also named Francisco Goya and William Blake as influences. His imagery refers to various American cultural archetypes such as surfers, G.I.s in Vietnam, and baseball players, as well as specific figures such as Charles Manson, John F. Kennedy, and Batman. Pettibon's texts are often fragments from his favorite authors, including Henry James, Marcel Proust, and William Faulkner, among many others, taken out of context and sometimes altered. Unconnected in any straightforward way, the texts resonate with the images to suggest complex, ambiguous, and often amusing readings and a sensibility that moves from the lyrical to the sardonic. Pettibon's voice rises from the dark side of American culture, reflecting sources in detective fiction, the tabloid press, and film noir.

Lithography has become a natural extension of Pettibon's drawing practice. Since the late 1990s, he has collaborated extensively with Hamilton Press in Venice, California, and has also made prints in conjunction with exhibitions of his drawings at the Kunsthalle in Kiel, Germany (1998), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1999). Pettibon worked on the lithographs for the book Plots on Loan, for over seven years. Its large format on thick archival paper monumentalizes the ephemeral nature of the earlier Xerox booklets.

Publication excerpt from an essay by Starr Figura, in Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 249.
Raymond Pettibon
Illustrated book with seventy-two lithographs
page (each): 19 × 14" (48.3 × 35.6 cm); overall (closed): 19 3/8 × 14 9/16 × 1 1/8" (49.2 × 37 × 2.8 cm)
Brooke Alexander Editions, New York, David Zwirner Gallery, New York
Derriere L'Etoile Studios, New York
Mary Ellen Meehan Fund
Object number
© 2023 Raymond Pettibon
Drawings and Prints

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