in Collaborations , Videos | 15 SEP 23

For Lari Pittman, Meaning Has ‘No E.T.A.’

The Los Angeles artist’s new show at Lehmann Maupin offers a dream of future urban worlds

in Collaborations , Videos | 15 SEP 23
Join Frieze Become a member to watch this video and gain unlimited access to

‘These paintings all come together under a title: Sparkling Cities With Egg Monuments,’ says Lari Pittman from his Los Angeles studio. ‘I think that the title is both clearly descriptive and indicative of some sort of conjectural goal – or dream, even – that I have about the future.’

The eight new works discussed in this video, filmed ahead of Pittman’s third solo presentation for Lehmann Maupin in New York, are certainly dreamlike across their collective 33-foot length. The intricately detailed Sparkling City With Egg Monuments (2022) is coruscating and chaotic, depicting fabulously ornate cityscapes that continue the artist’s ongoing exploration of urban environments where many of the issues addressed in his work – from the AIDS epidemic and gun violence to racial discord and LGBTQ+ rights – are intensely apparent. 

Used as a metaphor for regeneration in Pittman’s work for four decades, eggs pop up in these new paintings: amid the buildings, machinery and vegetation, sometimes like monuments, at other times appearing like fortresses or huge crucibles.

Throughout, they constantly resist simple definition. Pittman says, ‘As a human being, there is no ETA of meaning and there is no destination of meaning, and that is still so central to my work.’ A reminder, perhaps, not to foreclose enquiry, or to count our chickens before they’ve hatched.

‘Lari Pittman: Sparkling Cities With Egg Monuments’ Lehmann Maupin New York. September 7–November 4, 2023.