Review

RAYMOND PETTIBON HOMO AMERICANUS

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Falckenberg Collection 28 February — 11 September 2016

On four floors of the Falckenberg Collection, the Deichtorhallen Hamburg is presenting the most comprehensive exhibition ever of works by American artist Raymond Pettibon (born 1957). On view are 1.200 works, among them 700 drawings and hundreds of flyers, record covers and fanzines as well as films, paintings and wall drawings. The exhibition, curated by Dr. Ulrich Loock for the Deichtorhallen, features Raymond Pettibon as a mythologist who takes up and subverts the distinctive narratives of American culture, from Woodstock to the presidencies and the war against terrorism. The artist’s vehicle is drawings, in which he combines images and texts. Since the end of the 1970s he has probably produced more than 20,000 works. There are also films, paintings and artist’s books as well as flyers and record covers for punk rock bands and zines.

In the 1980s Pettibon’s subjects were the decay of hippie culture, murder and suicide in the drug scene as well as repression by established society. Others include the examination of family, race and gender relations, religiosity and the Vietnam War. In the early drawings, he works with bitter, precisely placed punch lines. Later, the literary dimension of his work came to the fore with references to 19th-century poetry, after which it reached a new high point in large-scale, colored drawings in which − disillusioned and angry − he sharply criticizes George W. Bush’s policies and the American war in Iraq.

Never before has such a comprehensive selection of Raymond Pettibon’s work been shown as in the current exhibition in the Falckenberg Collection at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg. For the first time ever, the exhibition attempts to restructure Pettibon’s seemingly endless work according to various principles.

In this context, one order is chronological, while another concentrates on motifs such as Gumby and Vavoom, surfers, baseball, trains, the Bible, the heart and the phallus.

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Video RAYMOND PETTIBON – HOMO AMERICANUS

Gallery

Audio DISKUSSION: Ulrich Loock und Harald Falckenberg über Raymond Pettibon

Katalog

Begleitend zur Ausstellung erscheint Ende 2015 eine reich bebilderte Publikation mit einem Vorwort von Sabine Breitwieser und Dirk Luckow, einer Einführung von den beiden Herausgebern des Kataloges Ulrich Loock und Harald Falckenberg sowie zahlreichen Auszügen aus Interviews mit Raymond Pettibon in einer Art A–Z seiner Themen und Motive. Der Katalog erscheint bei David Zwirner Books. Gebunden, 692 Seiten mit 600 farbigen Abbildungen. Preis: 48 Euro.