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March 29th, 1999
Drawings by Raymond Pettibon are Focus of First-ever Museum Exhibition

Raymond Pettibon is perhaps the most prominent contemporary American artist to concentrate on drawing as his primary medium. 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. 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. Raymond Pettibon, on view in the Berman and Stieglitz Galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art from April 30 through July 3, 1999, is the first major American museum presentation of the artist's drawings and books.

The exhibition will include approximately 500 examples from the thousands of drawings that Pettibon has made during the last two decades, as well as a selection of his unique handmade books of ink and watercolor drawings. His drawings span a broad emotional spectrum-from elegiac to ironic or disturbing. While his style was initially gritty in subject and mood and relied on the conventions of cartoon illustration, he has more recently pursued an entirely personal approach marked by a distinctive and sophisticated relationship between image and text.

Raymond Pettibon was organized by Ann Temkin, The Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of 20th-Century Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Susanne Ghez, Director of The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago. It is supported with generous grants from the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. In Philadelphia, the exhibition is also supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Accompanying the exhibition is Raymond Pettibon: A Reader, an anthology of texts selected by the artist in collaboration with editors Ann Temkin and Hamza Walker, Education Director at the Renaissance Society, juxtaposed with illustrations of more than 50 drawings by Pettibon. Complementing this anthology is a series of essays on Pettibon's work by Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, Peter Schjeldahl, Ann Temkin, Hamza Walker, and Bernard Welt. 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 (Paper ISBN 0-87633-120-7 [30190] $24.95).

Exhibition Itinerary

  • The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago, September 13-November 8, 1998
  • The Drawing Center in New York, February 20-April 10, 1999
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, April 30-July 3, 1999
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, September 26, 1999-January 2, 2000

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