Point Break: Raymond Pettibon, Surfers and Waves | David Zwirner
A book by Raymond Pettibon, titled Point Break: Raymond Pettibon, Surfers and Waves dated 2022

Point Break: Raymond Pettibon, Surfers and Waves (David Zwirner Books, 2022)

Point Break: Raymond Pettibon, Surfers and Waves (David Zwirner Books, 2022)

In 1985, Raymond Pettibon began his iconic series of waves, popular for its frequent depiction of the lone surfer silently carving “a line of beauty” along an impossibly large wave.

The artist’s latest publication, Point Break: Raymond Pettibon, Surfers and Waves, traces a selection of more than one hundred surfers and waves from the series, from smaller monochromatic works on paper to colorful large-scale paintings applied directly to the wall. 

Also available at Bookshop and Amazon, and wherever books are sold.

About the Wave Series

Raymond Pettibon in his SoHo studio, New York, dated 2017.

Raymond Pettibon in his SoHo studio, New York, 2017. © Jason Schmidt

Raymond Pettibon in his SoHo studio, New York, 2017. © Jason Schmidt

“Big-wave surfing is of epic proportions. It has to do with what you call the sublime.… It has to do with making artwork about nature at its most epic, its most ferocious.”

—Raymond Pettibon

 
Interior spread from a book titled Point Break: Raymond Pettibon, Surfers and Waves, published by David Zwirner Books in 2022.

Point Break: Raymond Pettibon, Surfers and Waves (David Zwirner Books, 2022)

Point Break: Raymond Pettibon, Surfers and Waves (David Zwirner Books, 2022)

Pettibon was born in 1957 and raised in Hermosa Beach, California, and his childhood revolved around books, comics, basketball, baseball, and surfing. To this day, these works draw on the West Coast surfer culture Pettibon grew up with: “I’m interested in those early, pre–surf craze days.… I like the purity, the ‘man alone at sea.’”

Installation view, Raymond Pettibon, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1999

Installation view, Raymond Pettibon, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1999

Installation view, Raymond Pettibon, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1999

A Photo by Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio of an Installation view, titled Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work, New Museum, New York, dated  2017.

Installation view, Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work, New Museum, New York, 2017. Photo by Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio 

Installation view, Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work, New Museum, New York, 2017. Photo by Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio 

A Photo by Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio of an Installation view, titled Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work, New Museum, New York, circa 2017.

Installation view, Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work, New Museum, New York, 2017. Photo by Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio

Installation view, Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work, New Museum, New York, 2017. Photo by Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio

An image of installation view, Raymond Pettibon: Frenchette, David Zwirner, Paris, dated 2019

Installation view, Raymond Pettibon: Frenchette, David Zwirner, Paris, 2019

Installation view, Raymond Pettibon: Frenchette, David Zwirner, Paris, 2019

A installation view, titled Raymond Pettibon: TH EXPLOSIYV SHOYRT T, David Zwirner, New York, dated 2017. Photo by Dan Bradica

Installation view, Raymond Pettibon: TH EXPLOSIYV SHOYRT T, David Zwirner, New York, 2017. Photo by Dan Bradica

Installation view, Raymond Pettibon: TH EXPLOSIYV SHOYRT T, David Zwirner, New York, 2017. Photo by Dan Bradica

Installation view, Raymond Pettibon: To Wit, David Zwirner, New York, 2013. Photo by Timothy Schenck

Installation view, Raymond Pettibon: To Wit, David Zwirner, New York, 2013. Photo by Timothy Schenck

Installation view, Raymond Pettibon: To Wit, David Zwirner, New York, 2013. Photo by Timothy Schenck

“Perhaps no subject better captures the spirit of Mr. Pettibon’s drawings than that of surfers dwarfed by towering waves.”

—Nancy Princenthal, The New York Times


Inside Point Break: Raymond Pettibon, Surfers and Waves

Point Break: Raymond Pettibon, Surfers and Waves (David Zwirner Books, 2022)

Point Break: Raymond Pettibon, Surfers and Waves (David Zwirner Books, 2022)

Point Break: Raymond Pettibon, Surfers and Waves (David Zwirner Books, 2022)

“The desire for the sea in Pettibon’s art hinges on the life-affirming threat of a suspended perishing that is obsessively embraced.”


—Brian Lukacher

A detail of a painting by Victor Hugo, titled Ma destinée, dated 1867

Victor Hugo, Ma destinée, 1867 (detail)

Victor Hugo, Ma destinée, 1867 (detail)

A detail of an artwork by J. M. W. Turner, Snow Storm—Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth, dated 1842

J. M. W. Turner, Snow Storm—Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth, 1842 (detail)

J. M. W. Turner, Snow Storm—Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth, 1842 (detail)

Featured in Point Break is an essay by Brian Lukacher that explores humanity’s relationship to the sea over time and connects Pettibon to other artists throughout history, including J. M. W. Turner, known for his turbulent seascapes, and the literary giant Victor Hugo’s lesser-known ink drawings of crashing waves.

The monograph also includes the writer, editor, and former professional surfer Jamie Brisick’s examination of the California surf and music culture of Pettibon’s youth, Pettibon’s relationship to surfing and how it informs his practice, and an interview with the artist. The professional surfers Stephanie Gilmore and Emily Erickson also surface with writing that captures the sensory experience of conquering the enormous waves depicted in Pettibon’s works—and what it feels like to wipe out.

Point Break: Raymond Pettibon, Surfers and Waves (David Zwirner Books, 2022)

Point Break: Raymond Pettibon, Surfers and Waves (David Zwirner Books, 2022)

Point Break: Raymond Pettibon, Surfers and Waves (David Zwirner Books, 2022)

“It’s impossible to not see the self-portrait: Raymond the artist, streaking across the pitching, heaving, throaty blue wall that is his hopes/ dreams/ ideas.… It’s also impossible to not see how he’s selected the perfect metaphor.”


—Jamie Brisick

An artwork by Greg Noll surfing at Waimea Bay, dated 1963.

Greg Noll surfing at Waimea Bay, 1963. Courtesy Bruce Brown Films, LLC Archives

Greg Noll surfing at Waimea Bay, 1963. Courtesy Bruce Brown Films, LLC Archives

Raymond Pettibon painting at David Zwirner, New York, 2011. Photo by Aubrey Mayer

Raymond Pettibon painting at David Zwirner, New York, 2011. Photo by Aubrey Mayer

Raymond Pettibon painting at David Zwirner, New York, 2011. Photo by Aubrey Mayer


Available Now

A photo of a print by Raymond Pettibon being printed, dated 2022.

Raymond Pettibon:
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