Raymond Pettibon

Most of us become familiar with cartoons or comic strips growing up. Looking at the comic page is a chore we practice first thing in the morning, as natural as brushing our teeth. We don’t give it a thought. Then one day we have a crisis: We are made aware of the benday dot—its role, its materiality, its existence. We could kick ourselves for not knowing better, for not seeing it until then. Despite very real feelings of betrayal and loss of innocence, we get over it. Indeed, finding out that shades of gray are nothing more than black dots is only one of the first bombs dropped in a life punctuated (no doubt) by many more before that day we learn if “The End” is followed by three dots or only one.

In the late ’50s and early ’60s the Pop artists enacted this moment for the culture as a whole. When these guys incorporated comics, advertising, or other so-called “lower forms” into their work

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