Lari Pittman, The Veneer of Order, 1985. Collection of The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica, Calif.
This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Lari Pittman. One of Pittman’s most important paintings, The Veneer of Order (1985, above) is featured in the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago exhibition “This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s.”The thesis of the exhibition, which was curated by Helen Molesworth, is that the political, often confrontational art of the 1980s had its roots in feminist art of the preceding decade. Pittman’s painting, and indeed his oeuvre, is a clear example of how feminist discourse and art motivated art in and after the ’80s. [Aside: The Yale University Press-published catalogue for the show is fantastic — and it’s 40% off here.]
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art organized a mid-career survey of Pittman’s work in 1996. The show, which was curated by Howard Fox, traveled to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington. Last year Rizzoli published a gorgeous monograph on Pittman’s work. An exhibition of his newest paintings opens next month at Berlin’s Gerhardsen Gerner gallery.
Pittman and I discuss:
- How much it meant to him that his longtime friend Mike Kelley hung a Pittman on his living-room wall;
- Why his paintings have become more compositionally dense as he’s advanced in his career;
- The impact of feminism on his work;
- Why, at a time when artists who wished to engage sociopolitical topics made work in seemingly every medium but painting, Pittman chose to become a painter; and
- How violence, both public and personal, often motivates his work.
During our conversation, Pittman references an episode of The Modern Art Notes Podcast that featured Mark Bradford. That episode is available here.
On the second segment of this week’s show, Crown Point Press founder Kathan Brown joins me to talk about Richard Diebenkorn’s printmaking practice. Many of Diebenkorn’s Crown Point-published prints are on view in “Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series,” which is on view now at the Orange County Museum of Art. I reviewed the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s presentation of the exhibition here.
To download or subscribe to The Modern Art Notes Podcast via iTunes, click here. To download the program directly, click here. To subscribe to The MAN Podcast’s RSS feed, click here. You can stream the program and see images of art discussed on this week’s show here.
The Modern Art Notes Podcast is an independent production of Modern Art Notes Media. It is released under this Creative Commons license. This week’s Pittman interview was edited by Wilson Butterworth.
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