The work of Raymond Pettibon (Tucson, Arizona, 1957) follows in the wake of a generation of artists from Los Angeles that includes John Baldessari, Edward Ruscha and Jim Shaw. Along with Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley, Pettibon is a clear exponent of a type of artistic tradition that originated on the West Coast, under the influence of the confrontation between underground subcultures and the fictions churned out by Hollywood.
With its mix of images and words, Pettibon’s work could be said to begin at the point where comic strip illustrators and Pop artists such as Roy Lichtenstein leave off. The sources of his ‘fictions’ (as he calls them) are many and varied: from Goya and Honoré Daumier to the imaginary of television series, magazines and comics, literary references like Marcel Proust, Henry James and William Blake, and pulp fiction.
The exhibition Raymond Pettibon brought together around a thousand drawings on paper, five videos, and murals specifically designed and executed by Pettibon for the MACBA building, as well as music, books and documents from the artist’s archives. The material as a whole confirmed the heterogeneity of an oeuvre in which mass culture is intertwined with religion, sex and art.
The show of the work of the American artist Raymond Pettibon (Tucson, Arizona, 1957) includes a broad selection of drawings, video screenings and materials from the artist's archive.
His creations reveal his fascination with sixties American counterculture. Other references include Goya's etchings, film noir and children's television programmes of the fifties and sixties, which appear as fragmented signs in a discourse that is critical of the images sponsoring the cultural power of the time. By combining image and word, Pettibon starts at the point where the work of other cartoon and comic artists, or Pop artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, ends.