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Raymond Pettibon, No Title (Why should I), 1984, pen and ink on paper, 12 × 9".

Raymond Pettibon

Contemporary Fine Arts Galerie (CFA)

Raymond Pettibon, No Title (Why should I), 1984, pen and ink on paper, 12 × 9".

Alas, poor Pettibon! Poet sublime of cryptic fabulosity, inkpot noirist, and restless chronicler of the muck and ick that splatters so freely, then embeds itself like a cancer, forming the blackest recesses of American consciousness. His caustic wit cuts deep, even as it elevates him high above the tabloid trash-scape that feeds his dauntless foraging. Though the press release for his recent Berlin exhibition highlighted “new works,” the show, a dense mass of text-image amalgamations on paper, included some pieces dating as far back as 1981. But it doesn’t really matter, because Pettibon is embedded so deeply within a concentrated continuum of his own devising; his time is always now, no matter the date.

Many of the drawings were pinned directly to the wall, although a few were hung in frames, as if in wooden boats adrift on a flood of paper. Overall, a stylistic dialectic was

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