TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT January 2020

MUCH TOO MUCH

Lari Pittman, Plymouth Rock, 1985, oil and acrylic on wood, 80 × 82".

EVERY AMERICAN surely knows that Plymouth Rock marks the site where the Mayflower landed in 1620 before the Pilgrims it held founded the Plymouth Colony. It is likely that fewer Americans know that this historically significant rock was not identified as such until 1741, or that in 1774 the rock broke in half during an attempt to move it. Plymouth Rock is an allegory, one as American as apple pie and Manifest Destiny. (“Allegory,” Craig Owens once observed, “is consistently attracted to the fragmentary, the imperfect, the incomplete.”) Plymouth Rock is also the title of a 1985 painting by Lari Pittman, and, like the ruinous, mythologized object with which it shares a name, it, too, is an allegory.

Lari Pittman, The New Republic, 1985, oil and acrylic on wood, 80 × 82".

Pittman’s Plymouth Rock intimates landscape, but it’s also a field of signs. The date—CA. 1620—rendered across the painting’s front in a scraggly, spermatic script, is large and

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW and save up to 65% off the newsstand price for full online access to this issue and our archive.

Order the PRINT EDITION of the January 2020 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.