Almine Rech Gallery, one of Paris’s foremost galleries, opened its first New York location more than a year ago on the Upper East Side, bringing with it a unique program that mixes a strong artist roster with a consistently adventurous curatorial project. For its most recent venture, the gallery has brought together key figures from the canon of 20th century Western art for Words Without Thoughts Never to Heaven Go. Adapting its title from a line in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the exhibition investigates ways artists use text as an allegorical element. Serving as a chronological and thematic starting point to the exhibition is Être ou ne pas être, Picasso’s 1912 painting considered as one of the foremost examples of appropriation of text in modern painting. Declaring “to be or not be” in French with gouache on paper, Picasso not only pays homage to one of the most emblematic texts ever written, but he also questions the mimetic essence of a painting. Can a painting of words serve to depict an image?
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Hermosa Beach, CA
UCLA BA, Los Angeles
Pettibon is known for his comic-style drawings that frequently feature ironic or ambiguous captions, as well as anti-authoritarian messages. He almost always works in ink and paper, images are constructed out of many little furious brush strokes or lines, he creates dimension and form by using a cross-hatching. His career started with making illustrations for zines in the punk movement of the west coast in the 80s.
In the 1980s, he was closely linked to pioneering punk band Black Flag and their label SST Records, each founded by his brother, Greg Ginn.
His inclusion in the 1992 exhibition Helter Skelter, which showed at Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles three years before his first solo show, aroused attention and controversy. His works are featured in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art and a larger collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Museums that have featured him in exhibition include the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
In 2004, he received the Bucksbaum Award awarded every two years to an artist that is exhibited at the Whitney Biennial.
He has also released numerous books through the SST label.
Pettibon at CFA Berlin, March 15- April 26, 2008 [ArtObserved]