Richard Pettibone makes art about art. Since the early 1960s, he has appropriated works by well-known artists, scaled to the size of their reproductions in magazines such as Artforum. Following Marcel Duchamp’s logic in seeing the everyday world as a supplier of art objects, Pettibone treats all of art history as a readymade, suitable for appropriation. The keystone of Pettibone’s enterprise is his belief that Duchamp’s readymades were intended as gifts that might be remade by anyone.
Pettibone’s witty appropriations embody ideas such as the continuum between Dada and Pop, the blurry relationship between photography and painting, and the ambiguities of authorship. The ideas underlying his various series fit together like a jigsaw puzzle to offer an overview of the quirky, often contradictory nature of modern art. Never accepting the status quo and deeply respectful of what he deems great, Pettibone offers an interactive critique of the art of the past century. Pettibone presents modern art history as a kind of miniature railroad with stops along the way at Pop Art, Photorealism, Conceptual Art, and photography, all scrutinized, simulated, and celebrated with the meticulous care of a master model maker.
Born in Alhambra, California in 1938, Pettibone received his MFA from Otis Art Institute in 1962. His first solo exhibitions were at Ferus Gallery in 1965 and Leo Castelli Gallery in 1969. In the early 1970s, he moved to the rural community of Charlotteville, west of Albany in upstate New York, where he continues to make work. He is represented by Leo Castelli Gallery.
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