Lari Pittman Has Flying Carpets for a Violent Nation
|Lari Pittman, Flying Carpet with Magic Mirrors for a Distorted Nation, 2013. Museum of Modern Art|
The Flying Carpets draw on the art history of Persian carpets and Disney Aladdin cultural appropriation. (To mainstream Islam, 1001 Nights was as disreputably underground as Rudy Ray Moore's Dolemite.) Pittman mines equally subversive territory. Carpet is also a bombing pattern.
Each Carpet painting has a border and a center with figurative medallions. In Flying Carpet with Magic Mirror for a Distorted Nation the portraits evoke those of Hermenegildo Bustos, a cult-favorite painter of 19th-century Mexico.
|Hermenegildo Bustos, Self-Portrait, 1901|
|Hermenegildo Bustos, Still Life with Fruit (with Scorpion and Frog), 1874|
|Lari Pittman, Flying Carpet with Petri Dishes for a Disturbed Nation, 2013. Marciano Art Foundation|
|Lari Pittman, Flying Carpet With Waning Moon Over a Violent Nation, 2013. Marciano Art Foundation|
For decades, Pittman has been more original and important and serious than many contemporaries getting far more attention. The Hammer's exemplary show (and catalog) will help remedy that. Inexplicably, it's not traveling in the U.S. The only other announced venue is the Kistefos Museet in Jevnaker, Norway. Jevnaker is not a suburb of Oslo, and its population is 4302.