Raymond Pettibon - Pictures, Art, Photography

Raymond Pettibon

Background Information about Raymond Pettibon


The 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.

Daniela Kummle


1957Born in Tucson, USA
1977Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of California Los Angeles, USA
Lives and works in Los Angeles, USA


2010Oskar Kokoschka Prize
2004Bucksbaum Award, Whitney Biennial
2001Wolfgang Hahn Prize


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 York


2014Are your motives pure? Raymond Pettibon Surfers 1985 -2013, Venues Over Manhattan, New York City, USA
2013Raymond Pettibon – To Wit, David Zwirner, New York City, USA
2012Raymond Pettibon, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland
2011Looker-Upper, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany
2011Raymond Pettibon, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, USA
2010Raymond Pettibon, Gladstone Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
2008Raymond Pettibon – Thank You for Staying, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, USA
2007Raymond Pettibon, Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover, Germany
2006Whatever it is you’re looking for you won’t find it here, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria
2005Raymond Pettibon – Drawing from the Modern, 1975 - 2005, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, USA
2005Raymond Pettibon, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, USA
2002Raymond Pettibon – Plots Laid Thick, Museum voor Actuele Kunst, The Hague, Netherlands
2001Raymond Pettibon – Wolfgang-Hahn-Preisträger 2001, Museum Ludwig Köln, Cologne, Germany
2001Raymond Pettibon, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK
2000Raymond Pettibon, Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, Switzerland
1999Raymond Pettibon, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA
1995Raymond Pettibon, Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland
2014Une Histoire, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
2013The Whole Earth, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
2012Tracing the Century – Drawing as a Catalyst for Change, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
2012This Will Have Been – Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s, ICA, London, UK
2012Someday All the Adults Will Die! Punk Graphics 1971 - 1984, Hayward Gallery, London, UK
2012This Will Have Been – Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, USA
2011The Air We Breathe, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA
2011Photography Calling, Sprengel Museum, Hanover, Germany
2011Compass – Drawings from the Museum of Modern Art New York, Martin Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany
2010Houdini – Art and Magic, The Jewish Museum of New York, New York City, USA
2010Res Publica, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, Russia
2009The Making of Art, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany
2009Compass in Hand - Selections from the Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, USA
2009The End, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, USA
2009Sonic Youth etc. – Sensational Fix, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
2008Freeway Balconies, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany
2007Sympathy for the Devil – Art and Rock and Roll since 1967, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, USA
2007La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
2007There is Never a Stop and Never a Finish, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany
2006Magritte and Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA
2006Dark Places, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, USA
2005Big Bang, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
2004Funny 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
2002documenta 11, Kassel, Germany
2001A Way with Words, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, USA
1999L.A., Sprüth Magers Projekte, Munich, Germany
1994Mapping, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, USA