Raymond Pettibon solo show at “The Journal” curated by Sozita Goudouna

Tennis Elbow 70 Raymond Pettibon

“He did work at Macy’s for a time, where he amused himself by teaching parrots to say motherfucker but that didn’t work at all”

Curated by Sozita Goudouna

November 5–19 2020

Tuesday — Saturday 12–6 pm

Your name

Raymond Pettibon

Your current location

New York City, Seaport

Your favorite pastime

The Andy Griffith show and River Monsters

Something you like

Taking a walk on the East River and/or Brooklyn Bridge

Something you dislike

I try not to dislike anything

Your defining characteristic

I don’t know

What would someone close to you say your defining characteristic is

Ask them

Your favorite artist

There are too many, let’s not start there

Favorite word or phrase

My huckleberry friend

What aspect of your work is most important to you

The struggle, the process of getting there

Who do you admire the most and why

Well, it is not the Dalai Lama

Your worst habits

Perhaps you have to ask other people

The first thing you think of in the morning

I don’t know

What have you always wanted to do and have not done

It is not about accomplishments and getting things done

Your best decision

I don’t know

Your worst decision

Getting to the window past post time

Your favorite street and why

Raymond Avenue

What made you become the person you are

I don’t know

Something that you treasure

I don’t know

What would the child you once were think of the adult you have become

I don’t know, I didn’t live life approaching goals and attaining them

Your greatest fear

Heights, sickness and death

Raymond Pettibon No Title (At the instant…), 2020 Ink and colored pencil on paper 28 x 50.5 inches 53.75 x 31.7 x 2 inches (framed)

Raymond Pettibon No Title (Bred in the…), 2020 Ink and colored pencil on paper 31 x 50 inches 53.75 x 34.75 x 2 inches (framed)

Raymond Pettibon No Title (We have read…), 2020 Ink and colored pencil on paper 28 x 50.5 inches 53.75 x 31.7 x 2 inches (framed)

“All I am really asking is for you to look at Gumby with the same kind of respect that you would if it was some historical figure or Greek statue” [1]

Pettibon is particularly drawn to books — pages, paragraphs, sentences, phrases, words — while his character, Gumby, can walk into and out of any book and page, with his pony pal Pokey, too, who is royally “bred in the purple” in the piece No Title (Bred in the…), 2020. As Raymond states, ”if you‘ve got a heart, then Gumby’s a part of you. Gumby’s mission is to play, really. His mission is to play and have fun.” However, Gumbys are also agents of change.

The exhibition features two book-smart Gumby pieces, No Title (We have read…), 2020 and No Title (At the instant…), 2020, that attempt to “read fine” history when they are in the mood and a Gumby wall painting with a Pettibon motif, the cover of the Bible, used here as a reminder that the supreme court shouldn’t always judge by the book.

In Pettibon’s work sometimes Gumby does change history, or as Raymond says “he becomes a part or an agent of historical change for the better. I don’t know if Gumby ultimately actually changes things, that would be kind of like interventionism as it’s practiced. Of course. I would go back in time if I could. If I was Gumby and could rewrite history, I‘d end slavery and do obvious things that were there before…” [2, 3]

Raymond Pettibon’s (b. 1957) influential oeuvre engages a wide spectrum of American iconography variously pulled from literature, art history, philosophy, religion, politics, sports, and alternative youth culture, among other sources. Intermixing image and text, his drawings engage the visual rhetorics of pop and commercial culture while incorporating language from mass media as well as classic texts by writers such as William Blake, Marcel Proust, John Ruskin, and Walt Whitman. Through his exploration of the visual and critical potential of drawing, Pettibon’s practice harkens back to the traditions of satire and social critique in the work of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century artists and caricaturists such as William Hogarth, Gustave Doré, and Honoré Daumier, while reinforcing the importance of the medium within contemporary art and culture today.

Pettibon lives and works in New York, New York.

For inquiries on how to become a member or how to acquire work please visit www.thetenniselbow.org, you can also call us at +1 718 218 7148 or email us at info@thejournalgallery.com.

You can find us on Instagram at @thetenniselbow and @thejournalinc.

Image 1 Raymond Pettibon in his studio, 2019 Courtesy of David Zwirner Photograph by Jason Schmidt

Image 2–4 Courtesy of the artist and Tennis Elbow at The Journal Gallery

1 Raymond Pettibon in conversation with Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, May, 2008.

2 Raymond Pettibon: Homo Americanus, Deichtorhallen Hamburg — Sammlung Falckenberg, David Zwirner Books, 2016.



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Sozita Goudouna

Sozita Goudouna

Sozita Goudouna is a curator, adjunct professor at CUNY, and the author of Beckett’s Breath (EUP, 2018). She is head of operations at Raymond Pettibon Studio.