Skip to content

The New York Times Style Magazine

Raymond Pettibon’s Surf Paintings Ride Into Manhattan

April 7, 2014

The New York Times Style Magazine

No Title (Deeper Above All), 2011

The New York Times Style Magazine

Raymond Pettibon, No Title (This Left Was), 2012

The New York Times Style Magazine

Raymond Pettibon, No Title (Outside! Caught Inside), 2007

The New York Times Style Magazine

Raymond Pettibon, No Title (That Fact Of), 2003

The New York Times Style Magazine

Raymond Pettibon, No Title (Are Your Motives), 1987

The New York Times Style Magazine

Raymond Pettibon, No Title (Here and There), 1995

Raymond Pettibon’s Surf Paintings Ride Into Manhattan

By Maura Egan

Just in time for the winter thaw, the uptown gallery Venus Over Manhattan has opened “Are Your Motives Pure?,” a show of surfer paintings by the artist and cult punk-rock illustrator Raymond Pettibon. The gallerist Adam Lindemann has painstakingly amassed more than 40 greatest hits from small works embellished with the artist’s usual comic-book-style riffs to bold, monumental paintings, from a rarefied group of collectors all over the world.

“Having a Pettibon surfing painting is like having a Richard Prince car hood,” Lindemann says. They’re a slick and sunny slice of American pop culture. But while Pettibon examines the trappings of surf culture in the paintings, the artist, who despite living in Venice Beach, Calif., has never ridden the waves himself, is also dealing with universal truths. These works are about the solitary surfer against the vast ocean, man against nature. “You get a sense that nature is going to swallow him up,” Lindemann notes. “You could see them as disaster paintings.”

“Are Your Motives Pure?” is on view at Venus Over Manhattan, 980 Madison Avenue, New York, through May 17; venusovermanhattan.com.

Back To Top