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Lari Pittman reflects on his use of craft from his Los Angeles studio. While touching up his 2006 painting Palace, Pittman describes craft as a channel through which he can convey his pride and love for the art object. Pittman also challenges the historical association of women and feminism with craft, referring to the rebellious energy of his paintings as a kind of protest to prescribed gender roles and binary systems.
“As a male, it’s about a type of focus and social comportment that usually isn’t expected of a male,” says the artist, “I guess there’s a dutifulness [in craft] that maybe has historically been referenced or attributed to females. So I guess I’ve always seen my devotion to craft as a type of protest.”More information and credits
Producer: Susan Sollins & Nick Ravich. Camera: Bob Elfstrom. Sound: Ray Day. Editor: Mark Sutton. Artwork courtesy: Lari Pittman.
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Inspired by commercial advertising, folk art, and decorative traditions, Lari Pittman’s meticulously layered paintings transform pattern and signage into luxurious scenes fraught with complexity, difference, and desire. Pittman uses anthropomorphic depictions of furniture, weapons, and animals—loaded with symbolism—to convey themes of romantic love, violence, and mortality. Despite subject matter that changes from series to series, Pittman’s deployment of simultaneously occurring narratives and opulent imagery reflects the rich heterogeneity of American society, the artist’s Colombian heritage, and the distorting effects of hyper-capitalism on everyday life.