Art21 Extended Play

Exclusive | Lari Pittman: Audience

Production still from the "Art in the Twenty-First Century" Season 4. episode, "Romance," 2007. Segment: Lari Pittman © Art21, Inc. 2007.

Our latest edition of “Exclusive” is now live! A blend of newly-shot original filming and previously unreleased archival footage, videos from the Web-only “Exclusive” series focus on singular aspects of an artist’s process, significant individual works and exhibitions, provocative ideas, and biographical anecdotes. Click to watch “Lari Pittman: Audience,” on

Filmed in 2010 at Lari Pittman’s dual exhibitions “Orangerie” and “New Paintings” at Regen Projects, Los Angeles, the artist discusses the common misconception that his work is preplanned. Though he understands how audiences reach this conclusion, Pittman explains that his paintings result from a series of spontaneous decisions.

Inspired by commercial advertising, folk art, and decorative traditions, Pittman’s meticulously layered paintings transform pattern and signage into luxurious scenes fraught with complexity, difference, and desire. In a manner both visually gripping and psychologically strange, his hallucinatory works reference myriad aesthetic styles, from Victorian silhouettes to social realist murals to Mexican “retablos.”

Lari Pittman is featured in the Season 4 (2007) episode Romance of the Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS. Watch full episodes online for free via PBS Video or Hulu, as a paid download via iTunes, or as part of a Netflix streaming subscription.

CREDITS | Producer: Ian Forster, Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Bob Elfstrom. Sound: Ray Day. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Lari Pittman & Regen Projects. Special Thanks: Stacey Bengtson.