Raymond Pettibon − Homo Americanus

28 Feb 2016 – 11 Sep 2016

Deichtorhallen Hamburg

Hamburg, Germany


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On four floors of the Falckenberg Collection, the Deichtorhallen Hamburg presents the most comprehensive exhibition ever of works by American artist Raymond Pettibon (born 1957).


On view are more than 1.200 works, among them nearly 700 drawings and hundreds of flyers, record covers and fanzines as well as films, artist’s books, paintings and wall drawings. The exhibition, curated by Dr. Ulrich Loock for the Deichtorhallen, features Raymond Pettibon as a mythologist who takes up and subverts the distinctive narratives of American culture, from Woodstock to the presidencies and the war against terrorism. The artist’s vehicle is drawings, in which he combines images and texts. Since the end of the 1970s, he has produced around 20,000 works.

In the 1980s, Pettibon’s subjects were the decay of hippie culture, murder and suicide in the drug scene as well as repression by established society. Others include the examination of family, race and gender relations, religiosity and the Vietnam War. In the early drawings, he works with bitter, precisely placed punch lines. Later, the literary dimension of his work came to the fore with references to nineteenth-century poetry, after which it reached a new high point in large-scale, colored drawings in which—disillusioned and angry—he sharply criticizes George W. Bush’s policies and the American war in Iraq. 
Never before has such an extensive selection of Pettibon’s work been shown as in the current exhibition in the Falckenberg Collection at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg. For the first time ever, the exhibition attempts to restructure Pettibon’s seemingly endless work according to various principles. In this context, one order is chronological, while another concentrates on motifs such as Gumby and Vavoom, surfers, baseball, trains, the Bible, the heart and the phallus.

Raymond Pettibon was born in 1957, and at the age of five he moved with his family to Hermosa Beach, a suburb of Los Angeles. While studying economics at UCLA he drew political caricatures, and in 1978 he published an extensive comic strip, Captive Chains, from which several drawings were used for flyers and record covers. But soon he cut his ties with the music world, and in 1986 he presented his first solo exhibition at the Semaphore Gallery in New York. Subsequently he has exhibited in many galleries and institutions in the United States and Europe. In 2002 he participated in documenta 11, and in 2007 in the Venice Biennale. He has also been awarded several art prizes in various countries. Raymond Pettibon lives and works in New York.

Subsequently, the exhibition will be on view at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg.


Please note: The current exhibitions at the Falckenberg Collection can only be visited within guided tours. If you would like to book a tour please use our booking system. NEW: Open every first sunday of the month from 12 a.m. − 5 p.m., no registration required.

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Exhibiting artists

Raymond Pettibon


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