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Raymond Pettibon

No Title (Vavoom, He Could…)

1990

Over the past 30 years, Raymond Pettibon’s graphic pen-and-ink drawings, which have graced the covers of punk album and do-it-yourself Xerox publications, have become among the most recognizable expressions of the Los Angeles art scene. The prolific nature of his work makes it difficult to single out individual drawings; a typical exhibition includes hundreds of examples pinned to the wall in a paper explosion of images and words. In No Title (Vavoom, He Could…), the gnome-like figure Vavoom, one of Pettibon’s most beloved subjects, blares wide-mouthed toward a landscape of glacial mountains. With its stark shading and nervous upper-case captions, the drawing is suffused with Everyman pathos, a send-up of the romantic experience of sublime nature.

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957, Tucson, Arizona; lives and works in Hermosa Beach, California)
No Title (Vavoom, He Could…), 1990
Ink on paper
22 x 17 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Gift of Richard Heller, Bennett Roberts, and the artist

I wouldn’t want to be defined so much by comics or cartoons. My work is more narrative than that… But if someone were to take each drawing and trace it back to its source, most of them could be traced back to a book or a text. —Raymond Pettibon