new-york

Raymond Pettibon

David Zwirner | 519 West 19th Street

An installation of a couple of paintings, a vast mural covering an entire wall, and nearly one hundred pushpinned pen-and-ink drawings of varying sizes that appeared to have been haphazardly torn from sketchbooks, Raymond Pettibon’s recent show overwhelmed the viewer. Beyond the sheer number of images displayed are the texts that form integral parts of the works. With far more to look at and to read than could be absorbed, there was a conspicuous lack of cohesion in the wall-to-wall display. A fragmented stream of consciousness evocative of ’20s modernists such as James Joyce, Alfred Döblin, and some of the Surrealists prevailed. The viewer was obliged to make the connections, to make sense of the seemingly random choice of subject matter.

This lack of coherency also extends to the individual works. Unlike early paintings by Andy Warhol based on pages from tabloids, or the comic-strip

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