HUMAN WAVE – The Videotapes of Raymond Pettibon


25 Jan – 17 Mar 2013

“I wanna die with a machine gun in my hands firing blood and sperm”

– Patty Hearst / Citizen Tania in Citizen Tania

Already a cult figure in the LA post-punk underground (noted for his illustration work for Black Flag and the label SST, as well as for his zine series Tripping Corpse and the book Captive Chains), in the space of one year – 1989 – Raymond Pettibon released four long-player videos.

In each video Pettibon profiles a different radical subject drawn from the previous twenty years of West Coast subculture. We encounter Charles Manson and his ‘family’ (Judgement Day Theatre: The Book of Manson), the leftist militant group The Weather Underground in (The Whole World is Watching – Weatherman ‘69), the kidnap and ‘brainwash’ of heiress Patty Hearst by another militant group, The Symbionese Liberation Army (Citizen Tania) and, finally, the LA punk scene (Sir Drone).

Despite being crudely shot using home video equipment, their dense scripts read awkwardly from cue cards by friends and family (including Mike Kelley, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon), Pettibon’s videos demonstrate his accomplishment as a filmmaker. While he may be low-fi and carefree as a technical producer, Pettibon is razor-sharp as a satirist. The oblique narrative textuality that marks his drawings is transferred here: these videos are smartly dialogic celebrations of history at its most apocryphal, antipathy mixing with reverence in the grand reshaping of the stories they tell.

HUMAN WAVE, offers an opportunity to view Pettibon’s videos nearly a quarter of a century since they were made. Judgement Day Theatre: The Book of Manson and The Whole World is Watching – Weatherman ‘69 will be screened on loop for the entire duration of the exhibition. In addition, the two other tapes: Citizen Tania and Sir Drone form the basis of two screening + band nights held at SPACE in collaboration with London based label and promoters Upset The Rhythm.

Film + band nights:

Fri, 15th Feb: Sir Drone + WOOLF / PRIMITIVE PARTS / FEATURE

Thu, 7th Mar: Citizen Tania + WAY THROUGH / APOSTILLE / SHOPPING

Raymond Pettibon was born in 1957 in Tuscon, Arizona, and studied at UCLA in Los Angeles. As a young graduate he worked as a maths teacher before embarking on an artistic career, designing album covers for Black Flag and becoming associated with the Los Angeles Punk scene. In recent years Pettibon has numerous major solo shows including Whuytuyp, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland (2012); ‘v-boom’, Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, Germany (2007); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria (2006); and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2005). Retrospectives of his work have been held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In 2010 Pettibon received the prestigious Oskar Kokoschka prize. Raymond Pettibon lives and works in Los Angeles.