Broad strokes: the New Museum showcases the electrifying work of Raymond Pettibon

Drawings for the show ‘Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work
New York’s New Museum has brought together over 700 of Raymond Pettibon’s drawings for the show ‘Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work’
(Image credit: Maris Hutchinson/EPW Studio)

Raymond Pettibon’s electric union of pen stroke and word has had the Big Apple abuzz since the New Museum opened ‘Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work’ last month. As the artist’s first major museum survey exhibition in New York, the New Museum’s retrospective brings together over 700 drawings, arranged in stunning fashion, ranging from the late 1960s to today – the largest presentation of his work to date.

An indelible fixture in American art since the 1980s, Pettibon’s concurrently graphic and poetic style has rarely been experienced en masse like this. Filling the museum’s three main floors, his drawings articulate how cultural values have shifted across the decades in a raw and emotional way. From the idealistic postwar period of his early childhood to the military and social conflicts that dominate the present, Pettibon’s drawings and installations take on a reinvigorated significance when viewed against a contemporary backdrop.

Broad strokes: the New Museum showcases the electrifying work of Raymond Pettibon

Pettibon has scrawled artworks directly onto the walls of the New Museum

(Image credit: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio)

Curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari and Massimiliano Gioni, the New Museum’s exhibition includes drawings of numerous scales and the artist’s self-produced zines from his early career, as well as videos made with other artists and musician friends to provide an intimate perspective on his vibrant practice.

Pettibon, who was born in 1957, rose to fame for his work on advertisements and record covers and came to be known for his outspoken style and ties to the 1980s LA punk rock scene – primarily his work with Black Flag and SST records – acerbically voicing and visualising the thoughts of a disillusioned youth of which he was a part (he was born Raymond Ginn, ditching the surname to avoid association with President Ronald Reagan, a figure derided by said punk scene).

Regardless of size or medium, Pettibon’s works are consistently charged with a latent energy, thanks to the incredibly detailed and painterly style that his pen strokes produce. Peppered with cultural fixtures from literature, comics and television on one hand, and dominated by his colourful and highly expressive approach on the other, Pettibon’s complex, smoldering oeuvre serves as powerful commentary on American culture.

First major museum survey exhibition in New York

The sprawling retrospective is the American artist’s first major museum survey exhibition in New York

(Image credit: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio)

The exhibition is spread over the museum’s three main floors

The exhibition is spread over the museum’s three main floors

(Image credit: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio)

The artist came to be known for his outspoken style and ties to the 1980s

The artist came to be known for his outspoken style and ties to the 1980s Los Angeles punk rock and surf scenes

(Image credit: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio)

Emotional work is peppered with cultural fixtures from literature,

His raw, emotional work is peppered with cultural fixtures from literature, comics and television

(Image credit: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio)

With work dating back to the late 1960s, Pettibon’s drawings articulate

With work dating back to the late 1960s, Pettibon’s drawings articulate how cultural values have shifted across the decades

(Image credit: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio)

The artist reflects on America's political currents in his work

The artist reflects on America’s political currents in his work

(Image credit: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio)

Fame for his work on advertisements and record covers

Pettibon rose to fame for his work on advertisements and record covers

(Image credit: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio)

In the museum’s lobby, Pettibon has made his mark directly on the walls

In the museum's lobby, Pettibon has made his mark directly on the walls

(Image credit: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio)

The exhibition has been curated

The exhibition has been curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari and Massimiliano Gioni

(Image credit: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio)

INFORMATION
‘Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work’ is on view until 9 April. For more information, visit the New Museum website (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

New Musuem 235 Bowery New York, NY 10002

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Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.