The Hammer Museum presents “Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence,” the most comprehensive retrospective in 20 years of the work of the American artist Lari Pittman. As both a prolific painter and a long-revered teacher, the Los Angeles–based artist is a strong presence in the local art community and the international sphere.
Pittman’s work has been featured in important exhibitions such as Documenta (1997), the Venice Biennale (2003), and the Whitney Biennial (1993, 1995), as well as in major survey exhibitions of Los Angeles and American art in both the United States and Europe. This exhibition will include approximately 80 paintings and 50 works on paper drawn from the Hammer’s own holdings as well as from public and private collections throughout the world.
From his earliest experiments with collage and decoration during his formative years at California Institute of the Arts, to the iconic paintings produced in response to the AIDS crisis and culture wars of the 1990s, to his present philosophical investigations into the history-telling of textiles, Pittman’s works have remained some of the most prescient and influential of any artist since the 1980s.
In recent years Pittman has moved inward, depicting memories, his own thought process, and a diverse group of artistic influences. These paintings function as rich dreamscapes and provide insight into the artist’s psyche. Key figures from art history are juxtaposed with references to production—represented as birds, babies, vulvas, thought bubbles, and other points of origin. His painted surfaces have become smoother, accentuating the synthetic quality of the works and showcasing the artist’s mastery of the medium. Among these recent works on view will be Pittman’s cycle of mural-scale paintings titled Flying Carpets (2013). “Lari Pittman: Declaration” of Independence is organized by Connie Butler, chief curator, with Vanessa Arizmendi, curatorial assistant.
On view: September 29 – January 5, 2020
Where: The Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, LA, 90024