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Made the year after he was shot in his own home by a burglar, Lari Pittman’s An American Place comes out with a bang!

All (highly insensitive) jokes aside, this is a powerhouse painting without even taking into consideration the fact that Pittman had an incredibly hard physical and mental recovery from the assault. I mean really, who paints a 13 and a half foot long painting after having a colostomy? It just doesn’t make sense.

Lari Pittman insists that the shooting didn’t affect his painting at all. He explains that, “The shooting is not the reason my work went into high gear. Meaning for me is created contextually, and there is no intrinsic or essential meaning to anything. The random act of physical violence heightened that [belief]." This is a little hard to believe just because after the shooting, his works included things like guns, violence and death more than ever before. But who’s to say?

With Pittman’s work, what we see and what we are told are frustratingly contradictory. Upon first look of An American Place, you can see a sinister-looking black picket fence and a pink gun underneath it and you think, “Wow, this must be the painting that got Pittman through that shooting. How intense.” And then you turn around and hear Pittman blankly state, "Art is not 'about' anything." And just like that you’re back at square one, confused and scratching whatever it is you scratch when you’re just really confused.