Lari Pittman Untitled 1989-90

  • Not on view

Pittman, a Los Angeles–based artist, has been reenergizing painting through an extravagant collage aesthetic since the early 1980s. Using an extensive repertoire of symbols and decoration borrowed from every imaginable source—advertising, graphic design, Victorian silhouettes, cartoons, and wallpaper, among others—Pittman creates a multiplicity of layered forms. In this work the result is an intricate surface that tells a story through small icons from modern life, such as stereos, cars, arrows, and caskets, plus various figures in silhouette. On top Pittman placed a richly allusive logo: "69." These juxtapositions are intended not to confuse but to create a sense of simultaneous events.

Amidst the jokes and commercial messages in his work, Pittman addresses society in a serious way, alluding to the difficulty of attaining happiness and the centrality of desire to human existence. As critic Francesco Bonami has written, "Pittman tells us a story of a society where religion, gender, race, sexuality, and economics overlap, entangle, and clash to jeopardize the democratic background that allowed them to exist in the first place."

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 99.
Alkyd paint on printed paper
44 x 38" (111.8 x 96.5 cm)
Gift from the Collection of Patricia and Morris Orden
Object number
© 2023 Lari Pittman
Drawings and Prints

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