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"Huupi's treatment of colour reveals her source of inspiration in creating this series – the Mexican architect Luis Barragán (1902–1988), whose few completed buildings in Mexico are undoubtedly architectural gems. The design of his own home has been widely recognised and the building currently functions as the architect's house museum." – Mary-Ann Talvistu "Without light, there would be no colours" (KUNST.EE 4/2021)


Raymond Pettibon, America, Estonia

Andreas Trossek (1-2/2011)

Andreas Trossek discovers America, and pauses to ask whether Raymond Pettibon (an internationally recognised contemporary artist whose work appeared at the 15th Tallinn Print Triennial, 2011) really is half-Estonian
The following text is not a fan letter, although a classic fan relationship really does exist between the author and Raymond Pettibon. In the autumn of 2009, I talked to Raymond Pettibon for a few hours for the purpose of an interview. My voice trembled and I panicked hopelessly, thinking that my questions were embarrassingly inadequate to this artist and that he must already have seen enough of fans like me. For example, he is ranked among the hundred most sold artists in the world by the international art database in 2011 and that is really something – to appear in the same list that is crowned by Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso – the only difference being that the latter are long-dead cultural icons in the Occident, whereas Pettibon remains a fully-functioning contemporary artist, full of life and vigour. I don’t remember precisely which exhibition in Europe I was visiting when the name of this artist first became stuck in my mind. In any case, it happened quite recently but paradoxically also a long time ago. Maybe it was curator Robert Storr’s exhibition at the Arsenale, during the 2007 Venice Biennale in 2007 – Storr, by the way, has compiled the most voluminous biography of Pettibon to date, for Phaidon Press in 2001. Or maybe it was at one of the many galleries in London or Berlin, where dealers sell artworks worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to a select clientele. Who knows? It’s not really so important. What really piqued my curiosity was the later discovery, as I stood admiring my record collection, that the same man had designed my all-time favourite album cover. Therefore, I could not help but be surprised to find that I had been admiring the work of this West Coast US artist for years before I ever even knew his name. Sometime later, my surprise was further compounded when I stumbled upon the fact that Pettibon is half Estonian. Really? Actually, that was already enough for me: the entire process of “discovering America” itself seemed sufficiently amusing – you look out at the wide world from a window in tiny Estonia and hear branches sprung from Estonian roots tip-tapping back against the glass. In an era of globalisation and transnational approaches to culture it can sometimes be very pleasant to experience some fanciful solidarity with a hero that has sprung from the exclusive club of one of Europe’s smallest nations – even if that club is itself based only on cultural structures derived from “imagined communities”. Still, if you don’t like it you can always change clubs.
I will begin my explanation by considering the iconic American alternative-rock band Sonic Youth and their eighth album, which was made after signing a recording contract with a major label, Geffen Records. The album was called Goo, and it was released in 1990. When I bought myself a copy a few years later, the record was not among my favourites for some reason, and it has remained that way – as far as I’m concerned Sonic Youth have made a lot of much better music, in both earlier and later periods. I bought the album solely because of the design of the record sleeve. Goo’s sleeve design is essentially a sixties-style black-and-white drawing of a young man in dark glasses and a girl smoking a cigarette, and with a passage of dramatic text. The overall visual impression is of a square frame cut out from a comic strip (the square format of the LP) – as if it has been taken from a longer narrative sequence, which it was not. It’s simply a drawing with a text in the same pictorial frame. However, there’s something suggesting a story, an initiator of a longer chain of associations.   
One might say that the drawing on the cover of the Goo album is Raymond Pettibon’s best known work – or at least it is outside of the international art world and its single-minded mafia of gallery owners, dealers, curators, and art collectors – because by now, music corporations have distributed vast numbers of this Sonic Youth album all over the planet – LPs, CDs, posters, stickers, refrigerator magnets, t-shirts, etc. In some sense, this work is typical of the artist’s portfolio. All the usual Pettibon stylistic elements appear: the schematic drawing style, like a comic book; the ironic, ambiguous, gripping and provocative texts and citations on the pictorial surface; the often violent or aggressive plots; a general mentality undermining the iconography of American public life (Elvis Presley, Charles Manson, George W. Bush); and many other dark ingredients that go into the mix of Pettibon’s seemingly humorous sauce. Typical of many post-World War II artists, Pettibon often borrows his images from print media, pulp literature and film noir; and he prefers to allow the full range of implied and associated meanings that may accompany recognition of one or another paraphrase, although he does not place the main emphasis on citations. Thus, although the viewer may recognise original sources, this is not necessary. The initial impact of the work is ensured regardless, since the usual postmodernist “namedropping” is not Pettibon’s objective. The Goo cover is itself derived from an already extant visual source (a paparazzi photo of witnesses at the trial of a serial killer, which had shocked the public of Great Britain in the 1960s), but this adds only a single layer of subtext, nothing more. The pictorial image and the passage of text that the artist has chosen to accompany it have no concrete, pre-existing mutual and historical connection.
Before signing with Geffen, Sonic Youth distributed their music independently, primarily with the aid of small record companies that were independent of retail chains. Among these companies was STT Records, which was founded by Greg Ginn in 1978 in order to release songs by his punk band Black Flag because other record companies considered them too radical. Black Flag was formed in California a few years earlier and is generally considered to be part of America’s first wave of hardcore punk. Greg Ginn was the leader of the group and as guitarist he was responsible for most of the group’s material. (In mainstream American culture today, the most famous of the group’s former members is undoubtedly the multitalented Henry Rollins – singer, bodybuilder, writer, actor, comedian, media star, and so on.) Black Flag split up in 1986, but reappeared from beneath the shroud of history at the beginning of the 1990s when Nirvana, which had been signed by Geffen on the recommendation of members of Sonic Youth, were able to shoot to the top of the charts with its so-called “grunge” style. Although Nirvana’s style was descended from the garage bands of the previous decade, Black Flag did not appear to make any serious effort to benefit from the ensuing media bubble. A reunion of Black Flag supposedly occurred in 2003 at a charity concert, with any profits going to an organisation dedicated to caring for stray cats (this was no joke – the band leader Greg Ginn was rumoured to be caring for almost 30 cats that he had brought home from animal shelters).  
During their heyday, Black Flag differed from other American punk bands in ways that ensured they were to be taken seriously: they were infamous (the police often arrived to disperse concerts that had developed into large-scale brawls); they had their own record label, SST Records (remember that this is the long pre-internet period when the goal of every start-up band was to get a recording contract to enable the distribution and sale of its music); and they had a memorable band logo – four black vertical rectangles placed upright alongside each other as if on an undulating horizontal, forming a highly stylised image of a black flag fluttering in the wind. Black Flag’s logo appeared first on album covers and photocopied posters advertising their concerts before it eventually began to appear spontaneously throughout Los Angeles as graffiti and tattoos. The logo was designed by Greg Ginn’s younger brother, Raymond Ginn. It was Raymond who first suggested the image of the black flag as a countercultural symbol of anarchism and antithesis to the white flag of surrender to the nameless band. Almost all of Black Flag’s studio albums used Raymond’s drawings in their visual design. To be clear: Raymond Pettibon is the pseudonym of Raymond Ginn, who was born in Arizona in 1957 and is one of five siblings, and as an artist he has continued to use the name Raymond Pettibon since the end of the 1970s.
The pseudonym “Pettibon” is derived from the French petit bon, meaning“good little one” – the name that his father, a literature teacher, liked to call him. Raymond graduated from university in economics and worked for some time as a mathematics teacher. However, his self-identification as an artist could not remain suppressed for long. For instance, the collaboration between Raymond and his brother Greg ended in the mid-1980s, following a dispute about Raymond’s drawings having been cut up without his permission for use in the design of Black Flag album covers. Thus, from the mid-1980s onwards, Raymond’s CV includes an increasing number of gallery exhibitions. It seems that from then on he no longer actively associated himself with the punk movement, although he still plays the guitar and performs from time to time. Music and art are two different things anyway, he has said. Actually, punk did not cause the kind of revolution in visual culture that it did in music – most punk record sleeve designs looked like designs by the Russian Constructivists, or by John Heartfeld, and there simply did not exist any unique style that might be called “punk art”. Even Jamie Reid, who designed record covers for the Sex Pistols, derived his famous typographical treatment, reminiscent of a ransom note, from the work of the Situationists. Moreover, punk rockers themselves would not have bought and collected Raymond’s drawings, since buying artworks for their own sake would have been equivalent to conforming with despised bourgeois ideals.   
Now a significant division opens up between the image of Pettibon as an artist of the punk underground (his Black Flag logos, replicated album covers, caricature-like concert advertisements, manually-produced fanzines) and Pettibon as a figure of the elite world of “high art”, a world in which the consistent hand of Pettibon-the-artist could be recognised amid his jumble of drawings, texts and artist’s books.Beginning in the early 1990s, but especially following the scandalous group exhibition “Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), 1992, Raymond’s works were eased into the white-cube gallery circuit. This was followed by further group shows, introductory works at international art fairs, etc. In 2002, he also participated in Documenta XI in Kassel. Various solo retrospectives have taken place in both Europe and America since then and works by Pettibon are included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, and, in Europe, of the Tate Modern, the Ludwig Museum, the Pompidou Centre and others. In 2004, Pettibon received the Bucksbaum Award, which is awarded biannually to an artist chosen from the hundred or so artists that appear at the Whitney Biennial, and which includes a $100,000 prize. The market reacted quickly, and within just a few weeks of that prize one of Pettibon’s drawings set a small auction record by selling at $70,000 above its initial price.
Despite the intensified focus on his career as an artist, Pettibon did not change his lifestyle. Initially, he continued to live and work in the same slightly rundown house in the Hermosa Beach neighbourhood of Los Angeles that his father had built and raised the family in after had returning home from World War II. It has been said that it was the artists, and not the punk rockers, that helped Pettibon achieve institutional recognition. It wasn’t that the generation of American artists that had grown up with the popular culture of the sixties, seventies and eighties really understood him any better or more correctly, but they appreciated him strictly as an outsider who defied the system and broke barriers – even if, for them, this meant little more than a quote from James Joyce or some parallels with the form of Robert Crumb’s underground comics. It was a game played between “high” and “low”, and for the majority of the audience in the post-PopArt world such things would suffice. Of course, there remained the traditional romantic cliché of the artist – cold and alone in a garret, not understood by his or her contemporaries, and for whom recognition and success gives no satisfaction or redemption for creative suffering. Dodie Bellamy’s autobiographical collection of short stories, Pink Steam (2004), provides one of the more vivid examples in the wide range of interpretations of Pettibon’s body of work. In this fictional context, the artist is even compared to Henry Darger, whose voluminous life’s work was not discovered until after his death in 1973 – a reclusive and strange old man and who could stand as a mascot of outsider art or “village-idiot” art in America:  
Judy looks very tired. Her head hangs to the right, her full lips are relaxed, parted, her heavy lidded eyes are cast downward. She's thinking to herself, wondering what "outsider art" really means. Is it merely talent that unwinds "outside" the art establishment–or does one have to be a weirdo? Judy's thoughts turn to the Henry Darger show. "Outsider Art," it said in bold black letters, right there on the wall of the old Chicago public library. She's glad she saw Darger's illustrations of hermaphroditic war-torn children in his hometown, midweek, in the loneliness, the eeriness of an empty hall. Whenever she turned her back to them, the children snuck away from the cataloged voyeurism of the gallery, reverted to the unseen, cluttered limbo of a janitor's bedroom. Judy exhales a big puff of smoke, her chest deflates for a moment then floats back up. Darger's watercolors remind her of Raymond Pettibon's work, more of a spiritual kinship than a specificity–the lack of formal training, the cultural infusions, startling convergences, the whole image/text thing, the hyperintelligent primitivism, obsessiveness, the narrative impulse, the volume. Fame hasn't brought Raymond much happiness. She's often thought he'd feel more comfortable with Darger's life, isolated, unknown, amassing these thousands of images in his tattered Hermosa Beach home. That's what he expected for himself, she's sure of that.  
Indeed, the quantity of Raymond Pettibon’s body of work is particularly striking. He seems to have produced thousands of pictures using a variety of techniques (in the early years, primarily black-and-white ink drawings; recently, watercolours, gouache, and other media) and this first impression is often compounded by the artist’s preferred approach to gallery display – pictures are piled onto exhibition surfaces without any specific chronological or thematic system, apparently following a floor-to-ceiling-and-wall-to-wall principle. It may be a matter of indifference, or of a peculiar work ethic. Black Flag, the band managed by his brother, is said to have stood out among other punk bands because of its rare discipline. Regular band practices were organised, and they took place in any weather one might say. Similarly, it is said that during his punk years Raymond was making at least a dozen pictures per day. When I spoke to him in 2009, he did not deny or confirm these statements, saying only that there certainly were times when he made a dozen pictures a day but this was not a rule, and that he doesn’t have a definite nine-to-five work routine: “On the other hand, galleries always want me to bring them something. I would say that over the course of years I’ve probably been a prolific artist. And when I have a show coming up, I just have to work.
The subjects of Pettibon’s pictures also range from one extreme to another. During the last few years he has completed several series that are extremely critical of institutions of power. For example, his pictures about George W. Bush and the war in Iraq are rooted in both Francisco de Goya’s seminal series of anti-war drawings and the tradition of satirical political cartoons, which remains strong in the United States. At the same time, as a resident of California, he has also produced a series of powerful sky blue (I would even say they are luscious) pictures of surfers on the Pacific ocean. Another recurring theme is baseball, the United States’ national sport. Apparently, Pettibon enjoys the visual challenge of trying to convey the drama expressed in the strenuous poses of the athletes as they swing their bats.  His punk years included ink drawings that mocked the toothless rebellion of the dope-loving hippies of the sixties; a bloody media image of Charles Manson listening to the Beatles symbolises the disaster of sixties youth culture. There seems to be something thoroughly American in this taste for fast movements, for blows and violence. In the eighties, borrowing images from either video or TV, Pettibon noted that, statistically, most of the screentime in movies is devoted to showing “talking heads”, while shorter, faster scenes are primarily given to violence or to some other kind of physical exertion. In this respect, Pettibon’s work process, combining pictures and texts, aims to bring into focus a concentration of activity. War, sex and sport – all following this thin red line.
However, the most common generalisation about Pettibon’s drawing style is that it is like that of a comic strip, that he uses pictures and texts by combining them into comic-style solutions. I ask him whether, as a result, he has been compared ad nauseam to Roy Lichtenstein, and he replies that of course he has: “He also used the language of comics but my work compared to his is nevertheless totally the opposite.” After all, the reason for Lichtenstein’s use of painted speech bubbles and comic strip raster images was to surprise the viewer by stressing the absurdity of the situation, and to draw attention to paint and canvas. In contrast, when Pettibon uses the language of the comic strip, it is to tell a story. Thus the quotations and paraphrases that appear in Raymond’s pictures – Henry James, Fernando Pessoa, Samuel Beckett, Marcel Proust, the entire American beat generation and, of course, William Blake – come into play. To the surprise of many, Pettibon has stated that he did not read comics as a child and that he remembers having wanted to be a writer. Therefore, Pettibon is not concerned with childhood nostalgia for comic books (which one might automatically assume to be the case for someone who grew up in post-war America), but with a communications strategy that can overcome the duality of picture and text. In an Anglo-American context the influence of comic-strip cartoon drawing-style is universal and familiar, recognisable, yet anonymous, and so one’s attention shifts easily from picture to text. The text is not reduced to a mere caption, and the picture, in turn, is not reduced to being merely an illustration of the text.  
According to Pettibon, texts and pictorial images seem to grow out of each other: “Yeah, I wasn’t really reading comics when I was a kid… But I borrow their style – this kind of a simplification – because I’m not much of a drawer.” Although, in the Western cultural tradition, attempts to unify pictures and texts are usually the exception, Pettibon avoids over-emphasising any peculiarity of this way of combining picture and text by referring to the relevant examples from art history and broader visual culture: “I don’t know, it has also been done before, like by Goya or Ed Valtman (Edmund S. Valtman, a cartoonist who fled Estonia in 1944; the only Estonian to win America’s prestigious Pulitzer Prize – A.T.), whose works my mother collected in folders and that I used to look at as a child.” He concludes this thought by saying that his background may be in political cartoons. Again, it turns out that Pettibon’s particular drawing style should be understood in context to be derived, on the one hand, from the traditions of “high” art (Goya, Blake, Otto Dix, etc.), and on the other, from the decisive driving force of those pictorial forms that were considered “low” during the 20th century (comics, caricatures, etc).  
After all that I have read and heard about him, I find myself convinced that the genesis of Raymond Pettibon’s art is thoroughly “American” – reflecting America and its values – and that other adjectives apply only secondarily.
So how does Raymond Pettibon’s partial Estonian heritage fit into this picture? In Dodie Bellamy’s Pink Steam there is another passage concerning a character called Raymond and I think it is suitable to quote it here:
In the living room at Hermosa Beach a cat sat on a table, I bent down to pet it, "Hi kitty!" It bit my arm, not a little love bite, but viciously. Fortunately I was wearing a jacket. When I fled to the kitchen Raymond gave this embarrassed not-again sigh. "It bit you? Damn." The cat, he explained, used to belong to a Brazilian movie star. His brother's girlfriend rescued it from veterinary death row, where it was being used as a blood donor for better-socialized pets. The cat clawed the star's face so badly she had to have plastic surgery. I was spending the weekend with Raymond and his mother in their two-story stucco house. Also staying there were Raymond's brother and his girlfriend and some other guy. I never figured out who the other guy was, but he was in trouble, I got that much. I gathered that people were always coming and going. I slept in Raymond's studio, in a cot with racks of his drawings so low above me I could barely sit up. I enjoyed being stacked beneath all that art, imagined the papers flapping and fluttering, navigating my dreams. Raymond showered me with money, so much money I finally barked, "Raymond, stop trying to buy love!" But the money meant so little to him, he had pockets full of it, I did take some. I like money. We talked endlessly over martinis, brunches, dinners, red wine. "Gratuitous sex and violence," I remember him saying, "I have no problem with that." Raymond's mother told me grisly stories of the Russian invasion of Estonia, how she fled in a German ship as the Russians opened fire. She's still beautiful, looks twenty years younger than her eighty-some years, eats health foods and jogs every morning. And such a keen mind. She told me about Raymond's ancestors, his childhood, his IQ score so high the school insisted on a second testing. I felt comfortable there with Raymond and his mother, not like a guest-more like I was absorbed. Their limitless generosity was beautiful, but rather startling. Raymond's mother also told me his faults, all of them, as if she were trying to win me over, to have me all to herself. Or maybe she was trying to scare me away. I don't know.  
In the American literary landscape, Dodie Bellamy has been introduced as the kind of writer who gladly blurs the boundaries between autobiography and fiction. She cultivates an essayistic style and publishes fiction while also working as a journalist striving to stay true to the facts. There are small also fragments of information about Raymond’s older brother Greg that might indicate that his mother was Estonian. That’s good to know, but I want to check things out for myself. I contact the Los Angeles gallery that represents the artist. Organising the interview takes time – my background, motives, intended questions, etc. are all carefully examined. (I complain to myself that back home, in Estonia, I would not only have been given the artist’s cell phone number by now, but probably his home address and e-mail contacts too). When I request the interview, I stress that nothing about Pettibon has ever appeared in Estonian-language print before, and that to tiny Estonia he remains an “unknown great”. Meanwhile, I also anticipate the most pessimistic scenario: I would be refused the interview – it’s enough simply to glance at the economic ratings of the Baltic countries to become convinced that less is not always more. However, despite my geopolitical neuroses, everything turns out wonderfully; the gallery personnel are flawlessly efficient.  
Altogether the interview lasts a couple of hours – probably because I forget to look at my watch. Some of my questions are long and clumsy but Pettibon graciously ignores this. He listenes quietly, calmly and when he answers he is good natured and affable. When he speaks, Pettibon takes long pauses; clearly he is not a careless blabbermouth, but someone who speaks deliberately and even stolidly, who may easily become absorbed by his own thoughts mid-sentence. He seemed irritable only at one moment – when I ask him about the news, announced just before our conversation, that President Obama had been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize: “I think it’s just… It’s like giving a benevolent face to the same old system. Basically on the first day he took the office he had blood on his hands when he conducted those attacks in Pakistan.” At this time I am hardly up-to-date with foreign news and I don’t know exactly what had happened in Pakistan. Instead, his comment brought to mind an image of a figure with bloody hands – a figure that Pettibon had used to depict the previous US head of state, and whose popularity, according to polls, had continued to decline during his term of office. It seems to me that if anything has remained the same in Pettibon’s drawing during the last three decades (figuratively speaking, from Reagan to Obama), then it is his sceptical and critical attitude toward large scale governmental institutions and his pessimism about the future.  
During the conversation, Pettibon brings up a memory of an experience that had caused some surprise at the time, something that directly related to his family and ancestry. In retrospect, the collapse of the Soviet Union may seem to have been a logical and historical inevitability – one step following on from another – but at the time, not everyone interpreted the news of Gorbachev’s rise to power in the same way. Reflecting on this, Pettibon remarked that he was truly saddened that all the Eastern European countries that had previously been occupied by the Soviet Union so easily fell into line with US policy when the invasion of Iraq was proposed. Bush Senior had great respect for the Soviet Union and had not wanted to see a great power, which had rivalled the US, completely disappear from the world map, says Pettibon. As he continues to answer my questions, it is apparent to me that he is under no great illusion about NATO’s Article Five, which the small Eastern European states are counting on when they chose to support the invasion of Iraq: “If someone hopes that the US would attack Russia simply because the Russians have invaded Estonia then it’s not going to happen because that would mean a nuclear conflict” – these scenarios have been played out plenty of times before, it is that simple.  
And so, to the question of Raymond Pettibon’s Estonian heritage. Well, yes, it is all true. He confirms that his mother’s maiden name was Õie Peters and that she had escaped along with her sister to Germany during the war. It was no pleasure cruise in the coastal waters of Estonia – a torpedo narrowly missed hitting the ship. There followed life as a refugee in Germany, and afterwards she worked as a nurse in London. During World War II, Pettibon’s father Regis served as a B-17 pilot in the US Army Air Corps, and that’s how his parents met. Raymond remembers from childhood his mother and his aunt Aino speaking Estonian among themselves, at a time the family had already emigrated to the US. They were constantly concerned about their brother (Raymond’s uncle) who had remained in the Soviet Union and was a “Finnish boy” and had worn a Wehrmacht uniform to fight against the Red Army in both Finland and Estonia. As the war ended, he was sent to a prison camp in the Gulag as a political prisoner for many years. Raymond apologises that he does not speak any Estonian himself, explaining that he has no talent for languages. But he requests that I mention his uncle Otto Peters’s memoirs, which have appeared in both Finnish and Estonian, in my article. (“He is the nicest person – not any kind of pointless hate towards anyone.”) He has also not yet been to Estonia, because some exhibition is always underway and time is short. Later, I find a passage among Otto Peters’s memoirs (as dictated to Pekka Haara) that Raymond had mentioned, and which vividly describes the development of Raymond’s family line as one of many similar stories. Essentially, during the war, one great stream left Estonia and went West, while another went to Siberia. These streams are connected, almost casually. Pettibon’s uncle, Otto Peters, was freed from Norilsk prison camp in 1955, and arrived back in Tallinn to “begin” his civilian life after eleven years of hard labour on the timber line in the northernmost region of Siberia. At the same time, he was lucky, because the rest of his family had escaped the Stalinist terror:  
In 1944, my two sisters tried to escape to Sweden. However, they ended up in Germany; from there they went to England and then to the United States. The Russians’ terrifying deeds were well-known. If my sisters had remained, they would have been taken to Russia. While in England, one of my sisters married an American Air Force officer. This U.S. Air Force colonel died in March 2005. My parents were in hiding, in 1949, when Stalin deported the Estonians to Siberia. One of my friends had been in the Finnish Navy. He did not return to Estonia after the war, but sent greetings to his parents over the radio. Thereafter, his mother, two sisters and brother were deported to Russia… Only after many years were they able to come back to Estonia from Siberia.  
By the end of our conversation I’m even a little surprised by how much Raymond Pettibon actually knows about his mother’s country of origin. I suggest that the “roots question” is not very important in the US, is it? Raymond agrees, “It’s like you said earlier that in the US almost everyone has a minority background – there are Americans who have Irish or Mexican roots and so on. If you mentioned Estonia in the US, an average person wouldn’t have heard of it, wouldn’t know where it is. Even in the art world where people are more educated. Americans are known for not knowing history so much – that is true to some extent because a lot of people from European countries or other places learned English and… Or like in her case that she had to know Russian and German language as well because it was a survival issue. Whereas in the US it is dominant enough to have its own way. In that sense the US exports history – they don’t know where they are going. They just know they are going to be dropping bombs whether it’s Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever. And that’s the big difference between Estonia and most other European countries and the US – there has never been a war here, except the Civil War when they slaughtered one another for no good reason. America has never been invaded, ever.”
Andreas Trossek works as a chief editor of KUNST.EE.
Raymond Pettibon was born in 1957, in the United States (Tucson, Arizona). He lives and works in Hermosa Beach, California. He studied economics and is a self-taught artist (drawings with texts, video art, and installation art). From the end of the 1970s to the mid-1980s, he was closely associated with the legendary punk band Black Flag and a small record company, SST Records, which were both founded by his older brother Greg Ginn. Since the early 1990s, he has become a well-known figure in the contemporary art world, having participated in Documenta in 2002 and in the Venice Art Biennale in 2007.
Mapping. Hits from the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts. Tallinn 15th Print Triennial 2 January – 17 April 2011
Curators: Lilijana Stepancic, Eha Komissarov, Breda Škrjanec.
Artists: Jean Arp, Hans Hartung, Richard Hamilton, Damien Hirst, Robert Morris, Raymond Pettibon, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Nancy Spero, Viktor Vasarely and others.
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