Here's Your Irony Back (The Big Picture)
Opening on September 11, 2007, David Zwirner is pleased to present a new exhibition of drawings by Los Angeles-based artist Raymond Pettibon. This will be the artist's seventh solo exhibition at the gallery. Recently included in the 52nd Venice Biennale, Pettibon is widely considered one of the most influential contemporary artists working today. In 2006 and 2007, Pettibon's work was the focus of an expansive survey, which originated at CAC Málaga, Spain and traveled to Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany. Kunsthalle Wien, Austria hosted a major retrospective in 2006, exhibiting over 500 drawings. Fully illustrated catalogues were published in conjunction with these European solo exhibitions. Pettibon received the Bucksbaum Award following his participation in the 2004 Whitney Biennial. The artist's work will be featured in the upcoming group exhibition, Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
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. In recent years, his thematic scope has become increasingly topical, addressing current political and social concerns, including American foreign policy and the war in Iraq. Finding early inspiration in comic books, Pettibon was interested in the cartoon's mode of generic and economical representation, which allowed for the development of a remote rather than deeply personal drawing style.
Raymond Pettibon’s work embraces a wide spectrum of American “high” and “low” culture, from the deviations of marginal youth to art history, literature, sports, religion, politics, and sexuality. Rich in detail, his obsessively worked drawings take, as their point of departure, the Southern California punk-rock culture of the late 1970s and 1980s and the do-it-yourself aesthetic of album covers, comics, concert flyers, and fanzines that characterized the movement—but they have come to occupy their own genre of potent and dynamic artistic commentary. His subjects have included political figures and historical events throughout the years and with mounting intensity since September 11, 2001.