In this retrospective of the work of Raymond Pettibon (born 1957, lives in New York, US) we learn how the artist deconstructs in the main themes of his work the story of US-American culture from Woodstock to the War on Terror. In his favorite cartoon medium, Pettibon concisely combines pictures and text in different forms into a climate of tension.
Pettibon’s work is rooted in the comic strip, a standardized work-sharing mass medium. He juxtaposes the technologically enhanced production and distribution of ideological narratives and his own individual handwriting. Pettibon’s drawings were known originally, particularly in the music scene, for their pointed and often biting messages, since many of his works were used as flyers or album covers by punk rock bands like Black Flag or Minutemen. Pettibon photocopied and stapled together his drawings to make simple magazines. Since the mid-1980s his works have been regarded in the art scene as autonomous works. At the turn of the new millennium, his drawing style became raw and expressive, culminating in large-format color drawings in which he expresses his disillusionment and rage in sharp criticism of George W. Bush’s politics and the American war in Iraq.
Homo Americanus concentrates on two phases in Pettibon’s work coinciding with critical periods in American history: the rise of the United States to become the sole superpower in the 1980s, and the decline of its supremacy in the first decades of the twenty-first century. The exhibition also looks at different themes that Pettibon has addressed repeatedly since the mid‑1980s, including his alter egos Vavoom and Gumby, surfers, baseball, railroads, erections, and the Bible. They are fragments of an all-embracing American myth subversively reconstructed by Pettibon.
Guest Curator: Ulrich Loock, Berlin
Curator: Tina Teufel, Museum der Moderne Salzburg
An exhibition of the Deichtorhallen Hamburg / Falckenberg Collection in cooperation with Museum der Moderne Salzburg