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About Raymond PettibonThe 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
BACKGROUND INFORMATIONThe 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, USA