No Title (As You Were...) (2020)
Raymond Pettibon is well-known for his brazen pen-and-ink drawings often accompanied by cheeky or witty quotes drawn from a vast library of sources – from history and politics to pop culture and sports. In his edition for “Texte zur Kunst,” entitled “No Title (As you were...),” Pettibon transcribed in his unmistakable scratched handwriting what reads like an artist’s skeptical reply to an admiring connoisseur. In rather formal prose, the respondent signals that what follows is an offer of his feelings “in written form”: an imposing, elongated, yet lonesome “I.” It is indeed a literal, written form: “I” as letter, as shape. But is it also the inflated ego of the artist? Self-assured and proud, the “I” is unfazed by flattery, assertive of its stature even when its line is a bit unsteady. Most likely, the joke is on us.