Lari Pittman

(Los Angeles, California, 1952 - )

North America, American

Cut up, layered and elaborately stylized, the paintings of Lari Pittman typify turn-of-the millennium Los Angeles. His work often explores the human experience in terms of stereotypical gender roles and the attitude of society toward decoration. Pittman’s South American and European heritage and the divergent national, ethnic, religious and cultural sensibilities of southern California help shaped what he calls the “hybrid identity” that clearly informs his work. Pittman’s work differs from many other artists’ oeuvres in recent years, carving a uniquely independent vision that honestly reflects today’s socially - and sexually - charged landscape. Pittman’s use of a baroque decorative collage aesthetic, incorporating riotous color, cartoon-like images, graphic symbols and humble motifs adapted from domestic interiors, wallpaper and fabric, celebrates attitudes counter to pre-1960s notions of high art but central to much art produced since then. These include issues of beauty and craft, “low art” forms such as silhouettes and illustrations, and markers of so-called “women’s work,” including pattern painting and profoundly decorative elements. Pittman received both a BFA (1974) and an MFA (1976) from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. Pittman has received many awards, including the Skowhegan Medal (2002) and three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1987, 1989, 1993). He has had major exhibitions at Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1998); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California (1996); and Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas (1996). He has also participated in the Venice Biennalle in Italy (2003). He is currently a professor of fine arts at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, California

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