Vanity Fair

The Culture List: Surf Paintings, Gauguin on Vacation, and Victorian Sex Appeal

April 4, 2014

The Culture List: Surf Paintings, Gauguin on Vacation, and Victorian Sex Appeal

By Elien Blue Becque

“Are Your Motives Pure? Raymond Pettibon Surfers 1985–2013”

Venus Over Manhattan, New York

April 3-May 17, 2014

The big-wave dramas played out in Raymond Pettibon’s surfer paintings must be seen in person, and you’re in luck, because there’s a dynamo collection going on view at Venus Over Manhattan. Pettibon’s other works are almost all black-and-white, with splashes of handwritten text, as though they were actually pages ripped from some punk-rock comic book.

The surf paintings, on the other hand, are huge and colorful—and they’ve never been shown together. Some, such as in the massive No Title (This Left Was), are darkly suggestive and tend toward abstraction—the goliath, blue waves swallow up the surfers dancing inside them. Others feature hunky, tow-headed dudes and breezy imagery, lined with bits of poetry, keeping the mood at Endless Summer level. Try to catch the opening—April 3, at six P.M.—for the sexiest bunch of art-world personas this side of Montauk.

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