The Easel

From Black Flag to Charles Manson, Raymond Pettibon’s New Museum Retrospective Has Something for Everyone

Right from his youth Pettibon has drawn. His images seem straightforward but become ambiguous with the addition of snippets of text. Those snippets are “as researched and studied as the drawings themselves”. Often they convey social criticism – is there a unifying theme? Is it “the dissolution of American idealism”? asks one critic. The writer identifies another source of ambiguity – “Who is speaking in this work?