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Exhibit Recounts Artist’s 'Punk Years'

Pettibon’s Work Highlights Art, Film Series

Circle Jerks handbill by Raymond Pettibon
Flyer/handbill for gig by The Circle Jerks featuring artwork by Raymond Pettibon, offset-printed, 8.5 x 11 inches, 1980

By Dave Perry

Raymond Pettibon, the California artist whose work went from telephone poles to the walls of ritzy New York galleries, is featured in the University Gallery in McGauvran Hall through Feb. 17. 

“Raymond Pettibon: The Punk Years, 1978-86” offers 200 Pettibon designs, which range from flyers advertising L.A.’s underground punk bands to homemade ‘zines, stickers, 45 and LP covers and posters advertising new releases by the likes of Black Flag, which was founded by Pettibon’s brother, Greg Ginn.

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 3 p.m., William Kaizen, Ph.D. will speak on Pettibon’s punk work in O’Leary 222. A reception will follow at the gallery. Kaizen, a former UMass Lowell art professor who now teaches art at Northeastern, was a key in bringing the reception to UMass Lowell.

Beginning Thursday, Jan. 26, a weekly series of films including American Hardcore: The History of Punk Rock 1980-1986, Punk’s Not Dead, and Punk: Attitude featuring Henry Rollins, will be shown in the gallery at 6 p.m. the series continues Feb. 2, 9 and 16.
An iPod station in the gallery will also offer music to accompany the visuals.

“This should appeal to both music and art majors as well as anyone who knows the bands,” said Michele Gagnon, gallery coordinator.

Like the music it touts, Pettibon’s work is raw, rich with in-your-face punch and shadowing and includes such seminal underground punk bands as Minutemen, Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys and Sonic Youth. While recurring Pettibon subjects include Charles Manson, guns and tragedy, he can also invoke humor and capture the times with bare drawings and brief text.

Over the past two decades, Pettibon has ascended as one of America’s foremost drawing artists.