Raymond Pettibon: Here’s Your Irony Back (The Big Picture) at Zwirner


Raymond Pettibon’s seventh solo exhibition just opened at David Zwirner Gallery in New York. On display is a set of drawings, Here’s Your Irony Back (The Big Picture), where the thematic scope has become increasingly topical compared to his previous works, addressing current political and social concerns, including American foreign policy and the war in Iraq. Pettibon was featured in Season Two, included in the current 52nd Venice Biennale, and in 2004, he received the Bucksbaum Award following his participation in the 2004 Whitney Biennial.

From the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, Pettibon was closely associated with the record label SST Records and the punk rock band Black Flag, started by his brother Greg Ginn. Contributing work for album covers, concert flyers, and fanzines and producing photocopied books that the artist distributed himself, Pettibon was a pioneer of the do-it-yourself ethic and aesthetic, which came to characterize Southern California underground culture.

Pettibon continues to blur the boundaries of “high” and “low,” pulling freely from a myriad of sources that span the cultural spectrum. His obsessively worked drawings tackle aspects of art history, religion, sports, movies, music, and sexuality. And his early inspiration in comic books has allowed for the development of a remote rather than deeply personal drawing style.

Despite his strikingly varied subject matter, certain images have risen to canonical status within the artist’s body of work, such as surfers, baseball players, trains, Gumby, Superman, Vavoom, and Charles Manson. Known for his prolific output, Pettibon’s works often incorporate text borrowed from literature and other sources, as well as the artist’s own original writings. The diverse literary referents for his pen and ink drawings range from Marcel Proust, William Faulkner, Henry James, Gustave Flaubert, pulp fiction, and the Bible. Considering text as vital to his process as the drawn image, Pettibon’s visual and textual pairings oscillate from the quirkily connected to the bafflingly enigmatic, always remaining emotionally and intellectually provocative.

Here’s Your Irony Back (The Big Picture) is on view through October 20. Read more info here.