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Known for lavishly detailed, textile-patterned narrative symbolism, painter Lari Pittman had his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles at the Rosamund Felsen Gallery in 1983. His participation in the legendary 1992 MoCA group show Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s prompted the Times’ chief art critic Christopher Knight to affirm that Pittman’s “obsessive, wildly ornate pictures amount to some of the most significant painting being made today.” 

The CalArts grad and long-time UCLA art professor has been a featured artist in the Venice Biennale, multiple Whitney Biennials, and the Documenta international contemporary art exhibition in Germany, as well as dozens of individual and group shows establishing his position as a key representative L.A. artist of the last few decades.

This fall, the Hammer Museum will be presenting Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence, a comprehensive retrospective featuring around 80 paintings and 50 works on paper culled from both from the museum’s own permanent collection holdings and secured via loans from public and private collections around the world. This show will be the first for which the entirety of the Hammer Museum’s exhibition spaces display the creative output of a single living artist.

The exhibition will span Pittman’s entire career, presented chronologically from his early surrealist punk collages, through the politically charged work of the 1990s, to his more psychologically introspective recent work, including the monumental “Flying Carpets” series of mural paintings. A stand-alone installation, Orangerie, will provide a discrete space for viewing Pittman’s drawings on trellis-painted walls. Recent handmade books by Pittman, featuring paintings on paper, will also be on view.

The exhibition opens on September 29 and is on view through January 5, 2020. After its tenure at the Hammer, Declaration of Independence will travel to the Kistefos Museet in Jevnaker, Norway. 

Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sun., Sept. 29- Sun., Jan. 5; hammer.ucla.edu