Lari Pittman, Untitled #8 (The Dining Room) (2005). Cel-Vinyl, acrylic, and alkyd on gessoed canvas overwood. 86 × 102 inches. Collection of Christen Sveaas. © Lari Pittman, courtesy of Regen Projects, Los Angeles.
On the occasion of his major retrospective exhibition Declaration of Independence at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, critic and independent curator Terry R. Myers spoke with artist Lari Pittman in his studio in Los Angeles.
Terry R. Myers (Rail): Let's start with your title: Declaration of Independence. Maybe it's the declaration of the independence of the work that it has always had. Or how for you it's about the future. I'd love to hear you talk about it more.
Lari Pittman: I was having a really hard time coming up with a title. So I was talking to Roy [Dowell] and he said, "well how about 'Declaration of Independence'?" and it just fit perfectly. I was excited by the title because it reverberates on many levels. On one hand it's explorational, or it's delusional, while on the other hand it might speak of some sort of ethical commitment to the work, a type of stubborn singularity, some sort of vision about the work that I can dislocate myself from but also looking at how the 40 years of work has made its way through the art world more specifically, maybe not the world at large, but you know, how has it travelled, how it has faired, who has responded, who has not. But that aside I still go back to the core of its specificity. Maybe a sense of its own inevitability, I don't know. I make the differentiation between myself and the work.