Lari Pittman (American, b.1952) is a well-known painter who has played an important role in the Contemporary Art movement in the 20th and 21st centuries. Pittman was born in Los Angeles, CA. He obtained a BFA and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. His paintings are inspired by advertising, Folk Art, cultural traditions, and commercial icons. He combines this imagery with heavy paint and vivid color. Many of Pittman's works focus on personal rebellion against puritanical dichotomies, which tend to attack gay relationships and marriage. When he was growing up, Pittman was an effeminate child who loved to play dress-up with his mother's jewelry. Many of his images are inspired by his childhood experiences. The artist’s images explore the contrast between the beauty and pleasure of love, and the pain and violence that can go along with it.
Pittman had his first solo exhibition in 1982. This exhibition received mixed reviews due to the artist’s highly Abstract images, which were filled with personal symbolism. One of his most famous works, The Veneer of Order (1985), is featured in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, IL. It is a confrontational political piece that addresses the complex topic of feminism. One of the main characteristics of all Pittman's works is the myriad of kaleidoscope-inspired colors. In 1986, Pittman's work took a new direction. He created An American Place after he was the victim of a shooting which left him critically injured. The incident occurred one night when he discovered a burglar in his home. In his attempt to scare away the robber, he was shot in the stomach. The images in his painting following the attack depicted life and reproduction, as well as death.
Pittman's works have been on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY, and the Art Museum of U.C. in Santa Barbara, CA. Pittman is a member of the Board of Directors of Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, and he currently works and resides in Los Angeles.