In-your-face, achingly simple, deceptively frank, the work of Christopher Wool
is so very New York
. Though he owes a debt to abstract expressionism
and pop art
, he completely transcends—even demolishes—these genres. Whether it’s a text-based painting or an abstract spray-painted piece, his work is immediately engaging. Wool questions painting, like many other artists in his generation, but he doesn’t provide any easy answers. “The harder you look the harder you look
,” he puts it in one of his word paintings, and that is an excellent example of how he states the obvious whilst provoking us to think deeper about what seems obvious.
Christopher Wool became known in the mid-1980s through allover paintings produced with rubber rollers commonly used to simulate decorative wallpaper patterns on walls. By 1988 he had hit stride with his dry, dead-pan word paintings (“Trbl,” “Riot,” “Sell the House, Sell the Car, Sell the Kids
”), while continuing to explore the possibilities of pattern painting. Since the 1990s, he has incorporated a widening variety of media in his work, including photography, silkscreen, and, in the new millennium, also the computer.
In over 400 pages, all of Wool’s work phases are covered in large-scale reproductions, accompanied by production Polaroids and installation photos by Wool himself. Essays and analyses by Glenn O’Brien, Jim Lewis, Ann Goldstein, Anne Pontégnie, Richard Hell,
and Eric Banks
make this book a great read as well as a definitive study of the artist’s oeuvre so far.This is the unlimited trade edition