Collection Artwork
Lari Pittman (born Los Angeles, California, 1952)
Once a Noun, Now a Verb #1
1997
Alkyd, acrylic, and spray paints on luan panel with one attached framed work on paper and three attached framed works on panel
overall size: 95 x 256 x 2 in.
Gift of Peter Norton
Los Angeles, California, United States, North America
2015.26.13a-d
Signed, panel 4, center right, on spider: LP
Signed and dated in black ink, panel 1 verso: Lari Pittman / 1997

Installation views

Object Label

I perceive the world to be amazingly and horrifically violent. [ … ] Aesthetics for me are just a temporary but aggressive maneuver to push that wall of violence away from me.
—Lari Pittman

The world Lari Pittman creates in his paintings is not a straight, clear-cut, mainstream one. It is more twisty, decorative, layered, complex. His imagery rejects hierarchy and rebuffs obvious meaning.

Once a Noun, Now a Verb #1 is a celebratory cacophony of intensely detailed imagery. Objects morph into one another, connected through an underground fabric of pipes and plumbing and an aboveground fabric of wires and lighting. Acrobats soar alongside sperm-like, mustached faces. Geometric patterns and skyscrapers are equally decorative as interior blends into exterior, back and forth. A toilet takes center stage. Perhaps it presents life along the sprawling highways of Los Angeles, viewed through a windshield—or a panorama of American culture, a nonlinear narrative, everything happening at once.

From the exhibition: Give a damn. (June 30 – September 30, 2018)

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.

Learn more

Give a damn.
Exhibition
Lari Pittman on Painting, Language, and Identity
Interview
Metamorphosis A New Dance by Jason Ohlberg
Essay
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Pattern by Erin Barry ’16
Inspired by the exhibition The Jewel Thief
The Tang Pattern Project celebrates the Museum’s 20th anniversary. Organized by Head of Design Jean Tschanz-Egger, past and current Tang Design Interns created patterns inspired by the Museum’s exhibition and event history.