Leo Castelli Gallery is pleased to present “Richard Pettibone Recent Work.” With this new exhibition, Mr. Pettibone continues his unique search, begun in the early 1960s, of appropriating works of art by other artists as subject matter of his paintings. Works by Brancusi, Duchamp, Mondrian, Picabia, Picasso, and Frank Stella are treated by Mr. Pettibone as “ready made” images to employ in his own paintings, providing the principal sources for the exhibition.
Mr. Pettibone’s recent work follows a period of several years during which the artist concentrated almost exclusively on appropriations of works by Andy Warhol, who in the sixties had been his first source. In 2006 Mr. Pettibone exhibited works after Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soups,” in 2008 paintings of Warhol’s “Box” sculptures, and in 2011 Warhol’s “Flowers.” Eventually, Mr. Pettibone returned to what had been his favorite sources beyond Warhol, beginning with Frank Stella.
In the present exhibition, a group of paintings based on Frank Stella’s work were inspired by shows of early Stella works that Mr. Pettibone had seen in recent years in galleries in New York City. An interesting work in this group is ‘Frank Stella, ‘Ouray’, 1961, Three Times,’ 2011, in which Mr. Pettibone made three paintings, each in a smaller size, appropriating Stellas’s ‘Ouray’ and then layering one atop another, creating a three-dimensional relief that reminds us of Jasper Johns’ iconic ‘Three Flags.’
Investigating the relationship between painting and sculpture has been a compelling subject for Mr. Pettibone throughout his career. In addition to creating sculptures from paintings by “stacking” them (like ‘Frank Stella, ‘Ouray’, 1961, Three Times,’ 2011, mentioned above), Mr. Pettibone has often realized paintings of sculptures. The current exhibition includes paintings of Picasso’s ‘Guitar’ and Constantin Brancusi’s ‘Newborn,’ two images Mr. Pettibone is introducing into his work for the first time. Other paintings of sculptures include Duchamp’s ‘Bicycle Wheel,’ but on view there will also be a full-sized appropriation of Marcel Duchamp’s sculpture ‘Bicycle Wheel.’
Of additional importance to Richard Pettibone is the pairing of one artist’s work with that of another artist. In one painting in the exhibition, Brancusi’s ‘Newborn’ is paired with Duchamp’s ‘Urinal.’ Two of the most important sculptural objects of the 20th century are juxtaposed and brought to our attention in a way we may have never seen them before, as if Mr. Pettibone were curating, through his work, a unique exhibition of modern art.