The Philadelphia Museum of Art announces the publication of Raymond Pettibon: A Reader, an illustrated anthology accompanying an exhibition of drawings by the California-based artist. Raymond Pettibon, a retrospective look at two decades of the artist's work, will be on view at The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago (September 13-November 8, 1998), The Drawing Center in New York (February 21-April 11, 1999), the Philadelphia Museum of Art (May 2-July 3, 1999), and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (September 26, 1999-January 2, 2000). The exhibition has been organized by Ann Temkin, Curator of 20th-Century Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Susanne Ghez, Director of The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago.
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.
Given the preeminently important place of reading and writing in Pettibon's working process, a literary anthology seems a natural accompaniment to this exhibition. Raymond Pettibon: A Reader is composed of texts selected by the artist in collaboration with editors Ann Temkin and Hamza Walker, Education Director at The Renaissance Society. The publication encourages a highly individual reading on the part of each person who opens it. Neither intended as a compilation of the artist's favorites or a canon of "great books," it provides a wide-ranging sampling of the raw material that underlies Pettibon's drawing practice. His extensive selection of writings is purely personal and intentionally transcends hierarchies of genre, period, and renown. Juxtaposed with illustrations of over 50 of Pettibon's drawings, it is a selection of texts by authors whose work resonates with his own. In alphabetical order, they are: Joseph Addison, Saint Augustine, Francis Bacon, Charles Baudelaire, Samuel Beckett, Walter Benjamin, William Blake, Jorge Luis Borges, James Boswell, Sir Thomas Browne, Ivan Bunin, Sir Richard Burton, Robert Burton, Thomas Carlyle, Gaius Valerius Catullus, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Hart Crane, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Mary Baker Eddy, Sergei Eisenstein, Gustave Flaubert, Thomas Gray, Martin Heidegger, Héloïse, Robert Henri, William Irish, Alice James, Henry James, Saint John the Divine, Samuel Johnson, Ring Lardner, T. E. Lawrence, Percy Lubbock, Stéphane Mallarmé, Osip Mandelstam, Charles Manson, H. L. Mencken, Milton "Mezz" Mezzrow, Michel de Montaigne, George Moore, Blaise Pascal, Walter Pater, Marcel Proust, Henry Reynolds, Rainer Maria Rilke, John Ruskin, George Santayana, F. X. Schouppe, S.J., Mickey Spillane, Laurence Sterne, Jonathan Swift, John Addington Symonds, Arthur Symons, Carl Van Vechten, Izaak Walton, Robert Warshow, Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Complementing this anthology is a series of thoughtful essays on Pettibon's work by Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, art historian, critic, and Associate Professor of 20th-Century and Contemporary Art at Columbia University/Barnard College; Peter Schjeldahl, Art Critic for the Village Voice and Contributing Editor for Art in America; Ann Temkin; Hamza Walker; and Bernard Welt, Chairman of the Department of Academic Studies at the Corcoran School of Art, Washington, D.C.
Raymond Pettibon: A Reader is distributed by D.A.P., New York, and is available for purchase at the Museum Store of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and other booksellers.