Raymond Pettibon (born in 1957) has been one of the most significant contemporary representatives of a conceptual approach to the medium of drawing since the 1980s. Originally active in California’s post-punk and hardcore scene, Pettibon began by designing self-published booklets, concert flyers, and record covers for bands like Black Flag or Minutemen. Initially known to a subcultural public, Pettibon’s work has long since found its way into renowned institutions around the world, from L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art to New York’s Museum of Modern Art. In his drawings, usually done in ink, he develops a visual language that exhibits a wide range of influences from American popular culture. He thus combines quotations and borrowings from comic strips, film noir reminiscences, art historical references, and associative seeming textual passages to complex assemblages of image and text. Using graphite, watercolor, or chalk, Pettibon combines his works done on paper or on the wall to form labyrinthine installations. The adjacency and superimposition of the most various individual images and texts, distributed across an entire wall, generates complex images that can be read both as a whole as well as split up into their individual elements. With an often oddly laconic drasticness, these ensembles of associations, references, and narrative allusions explore the dark and traumatic aspects, failed promises, and latently threatening myths of American politics and (sub)culture.
In 2001, he was awarded the Wolfgang-Hahn-Preis,
Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst, Museum Ludwig Köln. In 2002 he took part in Documenta 11 with a commentary on the events of September 11, 2001. Pettibon’s works have been exhibited in numerous international exhibitions at Regen Projects Los Angeles (2008) and (2009), Kunsthalle Wien (2006), Whitney Museum of American Art (2005), Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Florida (2003) or Museion: Museum für moderne und zeitgenössische Kunst in Bolzano (2003).