From sex to abstract

In the post Stages of Daily Life the last picture shows a painting on the wall behind the desk, which reminded me of a once favourite painter: Christopher Wool.

I can’t pin this one down to him, but it looks like him. His style used to be big black stencil typo, cut up words, cool expressions, clever observations. They seem to state the obvious, but are in fact thought provoking, forcing us to question the obvious. They look good as thumbnails, but real size in real life they are breathtaking!

I did a quick Google search for images, and it’s interesting to see how his work has developed over the years.

christopher wool

Wool copied the words from a text sprayed on a van (1988).

christopher wool

1990 enamel on aluminium (108x72inch)

christopher wool

untitled 1997 (66x48inch)

christopher wool

Untitled 2010, enamel and silkscreen ink on paper (72x55inch)

Starting off with the attention magnet of sex: the painting sex-luv-sex-luv (1988), after a text he had seen, sprayed on a van in his home town New York. Moving on to the work I described above: big, black, thought provoking lettering (1990). After that a break from the noise of interpretation and meaning, with still wallpaper patterns painted with enamel on paper (1997). The patterns are enlarged so much, the enamel put on so thick, they become rather abstract when standing in front of them. His latest work is abstract. And there’s even some colour emerging.

In an article on Wool in Huck Magazine it is explained how Wool’s main influence is the daily life on the Lower East Side of Manhattan NYC, where he lives and works.

christopher wool

Apocalypse now (1988)

This is one he did in 1988, in response to the economy looking up again after the crisis of early 1980’s. It is called Apocalypse Now, which seems relevant even now.

The Guggenheim Museum in New York will organize a major Christopher Wool retrospective this October (From October 25, 2013–January 22, 2014).

Publishing house Taschen has done an extra special edition on Christopher Wool for the collector at a €1000 for 400+ pages of TRBL, and a simpler book of explanations, “an exhaustive monograph” for €50.


About Wilson

relentless hunter gatherer of soothing beauty, great and small
This entry was posted in CREATIVE CAREERS, TEXT and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to From sex to abstract

  1. Definitely Wool pics at the top of your post. I just don’t know that I get the evolution of his work to the smudged images.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Evolution ís a mystery 😉 But, many artists have gone from the narrative to abstract -think Mondriaan, to name one- and in Wool’s case the narrative was exactly that, painting words. Personally I still love his early work best!

  2. This is great work. Thanks for posting. I also love the wordy ones, but I guess any artist is bound to break through words at some point.

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