Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence_Hammer Museum, Losa Angeles
SEP 29, 2019-JAN 5, 2020
Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence is organized by Connie Butler, chief curator, with Vanessa Arizmendi, curatorial assistant.
Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence is the most comprehensive retrospective in 20 years of the work of the American artist Lari Pittman. As both a prolific painter and a long-revered teacher, the Los Angeles–based artist is a strong presence in both the local art community and the international sphere.
From his earliest experiments with collage and decoration during his formative years at California Institute of the Arts, to the iconic paintings produced in response to the AIDS crisis and culture wars of the 1990s, to his present philosophical investigations into the history-telling of textiles, Pittman’s works have remained some of the most prescient and influential of any artist since the 1980s. His highly detailed works on panel and paper—grand tales about love, sex, death, art, and citizenship—feature a rich visual language that he has developed over the course of his four-decade career, replete with owls, Victorian silhouettes, flying text, and exaggerated and sexualized bodies. These meticulously crafted works have become emblematic of a generation of Los Angeles artists who reclaimed ornamentation and lush detail during the 1980s, employing them as part of their political and personal iconography. At the same time Pittman shared the noirish sensibilities of many of his peers whose influences included that era’s thriving punk rock scene and the legendary Feminist Art Program at CalArts. In 1992 his work was featured in the critically acclaimed exhibition Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s, along with that of Mike Kelley, Liz Larner, Raymond Pettibon, Jim Shaw, and others. Pittman’s blend of densely painted surfaces and codified references to sexuality and other charged topics, such as the history of racial violence in the United States, aligned his works with the discourse surrounding the contested body in the early 1990s.
For more information visit Hammer’s website here.