Legendary artist Raymond Pettibon has been composing an extensive body of works that include drawings which investigate multifaceted aspects of American culture, touching upon issues of religion, politics, sexuality, literature, and sport. Pettibon emerged in the late 1970s in the underground music scene of Los Angeles, where he became known for do-it-yourself posters, fanzines, and album covers for punk-rock bands like Black Flag and Sonic Youth. Since then, he has been using the language of comics and caricature to sketch a portrait of America through its deepest feelings and desires.
For the High Line, Pettibon presents No Title (Safe he called…), 2010, a work from his famous series of baseball drawings. With dense strokes and expressionistic lines, Pettibon conveys the movement and dynamism of a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Brooklyn Dodgers. The drawing evokes a longstanding history well-known to baseball fans: the departure of the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Pettibon alludes to an East Coast-West Coast feud throughout the drawing: on the left he writes “Moses,” a reference to both Robert Moses, the New York City power broker who played a major role in the Dodgers move from Brooklyn to L.A., and the biblical Moses, who led his people on an exodus to the promised land. “Jackie” refers to Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in the Major League, while “Where Brooklyn at?” references the chant from the famous freestyle rap battle between East Coast rapper Notorious B.I.G. and West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur.
Photos by Timothy Schenck.