I was resisting working with the traditional still life—apples and pears and all that crap.
I just fell in love with Batman. I think it was the ears.
In 2018, Joyce Pensato (American, 1941–2019) collaborated with Counter Editions in Margate, England to create this edition of 125 lithographs, of which a third of the profits were donated to the charity Save the Children. There were twenty artist proofs also fabricated, and Petzel Gallery is pleased to offer on this online platform APS 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 to benefit a foundation in the artist’s honor.
In the mid-1970’s while a student at the New York Studio School, Joyce Pensato found herself at odds with the traditional pedagogy of a still life drawing class, frustrated and unable to find “life” in a still life. At the encouragement of her teacher and mentor, Mercedes Matter, the artist decided to incorporate her own language, which took its first form in the life-size cut out of Batman, the fictional superhero created by DC Comics, that the artist found discarded on the street and dragged into her studio. It was by posing the cut out with traditional still life elements, such as a chair, for example, that the artist began to assume her distinctive voice of melding Pop iconography with rigorous artistic technique. Other characters soon took their pride of place: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Felix the Cat, among others. However, “Batman” only appeared intermittently for years until Pensato’s 2012 exhibition at Petzel Gallery, aptly entitled “Batman Returns.” Karen Rosenberg wrote in her review for the New York Times: “…Ms. Pensato’s vision of the caped crusader is all her own. Her drippy enamel-on-linen paintings of the hero’s mask strip away his trust fund and cave full of bat gizmos, making him into a mythic, messy presence.”