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Raymond Pettibon will be the first major American museum presentation of the artist's drawings and books. Born in 1957, Pettibon lives and works outside of Los Angeles, where he has been an influential figure in the art community since the early 1980s. Pettibon is perhaps the most prominent contemporary American artist to concentrate on drawing as his primary medium. To his early admirers and collectors, he was an unofficial in-house artist for the punk music scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and the creator of photocopied booklets that he sold for one or two dollars. Today his work is widely admired among the contemporary art audience and has avid devotees in the international field of drawing connoisseurs. While his style initially relied on the conventions of cartoon illustration, over the years he has developed an entirely personal approach marked by a uniquely sophisticated relationship between image and text.
The exhibition will include approximately 500 drawings chosen from the thousands that Pettibon has made during the last two decades. His drawings span a broad emotional spectrum, often elegiac, ironic, or disturbing. In the 1980s, Pettibon's drawings were made in a distinctive style derived from vernacular sources, often gritty in subject and mood. In recent years they have become more richly virtuosic in line and color and their subjects more metaphorical and poetic. A selection of Pettibon's unique handmade books of ink and watercolor drawings will also be on view.