CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 6/19/2014
Raymond Pettibon & Kim Gordon Book Signing at The Strand
"No Title (I Mean Alarmed…)" (2013) is reproduced from To Wit, David Zwirner's exquisite new monograph on Raymond Pettibon. The book launches next Wednesday, June 25 at The Strand, where Pettibon will sign copies alongside Kim Gordon, whose book Is It My Body? Selected Texts is just out from Sternberg Press. Introducing her interview with Pettibon in To Wit, Gordon writes, "I first became aware of Raymond Pettibon in the early 1980s, when I was visiting my parents in Los Angeles. Thurston and I came across his zines in a store somewhere, and we became keenly interested in them. One Sunday afternoon, we went to a house party in Hermosa Beach, a languid, slightly funky enclave that never became a resort town but rather a suburban neighborhood by the beach. Black Flag was playing at the party, and Henry Rollins was singing in the kitchen. He came right up to me and sang in my face. That was maybe one of the best gigs I’d ever seen because it was so surreal and intimate and confusing—refrigerator, counter, Henry Rollins twerking before twerking existed in his little black shorts, fusing hardcore punk with suburban banality.
This was all new to us. Coming from the New York music scene, people didn’t have houses or garages, so no house parties viewed through the almost too-bright L.A. sunshine. We went out to the backyard and there was Raymond. Someone introduced us. He was already sort of mythical in our minds. He was shy and dressed normally—casually disheveled. No one from that area dressed in a stylized punk way. That was one of the things that made it so cool—South Beach as opposed to Hollywood. We got to visit with Raymond a few times. There was always a pile of his drawings spilling over on a tabletop.
Raymond’s drawings were way beyond illustrative. At that time, he had no relationship to the art world. I decided to write an article for Artforum on his work, as well as Tony Oursler’s and Mike Kelley’s, whose work also used high and low culture, eschewing the conceptual mantle of 1970s formalism. It was a way to get Raymond into Artforum—this was the mid-1980s. We also participated in one of Raymond’s films, The Whole World Is Watching: Weatherman ’69 as Told by Raymond Pettibon (1989). It was very informal, and the brilliant script carried the whole thing. It almost didn’t matter what the actors did. Whoever showed up to Raymond’s house became crew and cameraperson. The task happened to fall on Dave Markey, the musician and filmmaker (The Slog Movie ; 1991: The Year Punk Broke ), but it could have been anyone. Reading off cue cards made it immediately a natural deconstruc¬tion, a Nouvelle Vague film à la Hermosa Beach. Shortly after that, Raymond began showing at Ace Gallery in L.A. He was like a flower opening up with a little attention."