los-angeles

Raymond Pettibon

Richard Bennet Gallery

Raymond Pettibon’s 296 unframed drawings and texts take the form of a gigantic mock-up of an illustrated novel. Pushpinned to the walls of two small rooms and stacked five high, the drawings fill up every available inch of the gallery. There are moments of thematic coherence, but for the most part, the organizational logic is elusive. J. Edgar Hoover gets his own corner, as does Joan Crawford, but images of Gumby, fishhooks, light bulbs, and eyeballs intermingle. No sooner do you get your bearings than the rug is pulled out from under.

Pettibon uses the cartoon style of image making for its flexibility of message and swiftness of application. The accompanying texts speak in many voices. At times they are polite, almost 19th century and full of unusual, mannered digressions; in the next moment they are blunt and unyielding. They capture real-life suffering but only as filtered through films,

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