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Raymond Pettibon at Regen Projects


In his current show at Regen Projects, “Pacific Ocean Pop,” Raymond Pettibon made much of the works on view since the lockdowns began in March. While Pettibon has been working in a distinctive style for over 30 years — a blend of illustrative drawings of American Pop references with poetic text lifted from books, culture, or the artist’s own mind — the urgency of the pandemic’s isolation can be felt in these particular drawings. There is a rushed energy to them, like each drawing couldn’t get onto the page fast enough before the next one started to sprout from Pettibon’s paintbrush.

On view are the artist’s familiar subjects — Gumby and Pokey, Superman, surfers, baseball players — and Pettibon blends these icons with a range of texts culled from a range of sources: from Shakespeare to text message lingo, like the text “Str8 Line” that appears in one surfing drawing. Phrases like “cancel the fake world,” “Redlining,” and “I’m aware” seem to touch on our political moment without sacrificing Pettibon’s typical punk detachment. The drawings are content to exist in the meanings read between the lines.