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Christopher Wool

Christopher Wool, Untitled, 1994 Alkyd on aluminum, 52 × 35 inches (132.1 × 88.9 cm)

Christopher Wool, Untitled, 1994

Alkyd on aluminum, 52 × 35 inches (132.1 × 88.9 cm)

Christopher Wool, Untitled, 1990 Enamel paint on aluminum, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)

Christopher Wool, Untitled, 1990

Enamel paint on aluminum, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)

Christopher Wool, Untitled, 1988 Alkyd on paper, 20 × 13 inches (50.8 × 33 cm)

Christopher Wool, Untitled, 1988

Alkyd on paper, 20 × 13 inches (50.8 × 33 cm)

About

Christopher Wool is best known for his paintings of large, black, stenciled letters on white canvases, but he possesses a wide range of styles; using a combined array of painterly techniques, including spray painting, hand painting, and screen-printing, he provides tension between painting and erasing, gesture and removal, depth and flatness. By painting layer upon layer of whites and off-whites over screen-printed elements used in previous works—monochrome forms taken from reproductions, enlargements of details of photographs, screens, and Polaroids of his own paintings—he accretes the surface of his pressurized paintings while apparently voiding their very substance. Only ghosts and impediments to the field of vision remain, each fixed in its individual temporality. Through these various procedures of application and cancellation, Wool obscures the liminal traces of previous elements, putting reproduction and negation to generative use in forming a new chapter in contemporary painting. His paintings can therefore be defined as much by what they are not and what they hold back as what they are.

Wool was born in 1955 in Chicago. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York, and the New York Studio School. Wool’s work has been exhibited extensively around the world in many solo and group exhibitions. Solo shows include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1989); Museum Boymans–van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands (1991, traveled to Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland; and Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany); Eli Broad Family Foundation, Los Angeles (1992); Ophiuchus Collection, The Hydra Workshop, Greece (1998); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1998, traveled to Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and Kunsthalle Basel); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (1999); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2002, traveled to Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland, through 2003); Camden Arts Centre, London (2004); Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia, Spain (2006); ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Zurich (2006); Museu de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2008, traveled to Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2012); and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2013, traveled to the Art Institute of Chicago).

Wool lives and works in New York.

Mercedes Matter with students at the New York Studio School. Photo: Herbert Matter, courtesy the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries

Game Changer
Mercedes Matter

Lauren Mahony and Michael Tcheyan pay homage to the founder of the New York Studio School.

A gray and pink painting by Christopher Wool. Abstract.

Christopher Wool: Part Two

Gray turns to pink or his twenty-first century, much of it in Texas. Text by Richard Hell.

A Christopher Wool painting from 1994. White background, with black and pink enamel.

Christopher Wool: Part One

Christopher Wool and his unlikely heroes or conceptual or not? Text by Richard Hell.

Cover of the Winter 2019 Gagosian Quarterly, featuring a selection from a black-and-white Christopher Wool photograph

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2019

The Winter 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a selection from Christopher Wool’s Westtexaspsychosculpture series on its cover.

The cover of the Fall 2019 Gagosian Quarterly magazine. Artwork by Nathaniel Mary Quinn

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2019

The Fall 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Sinking (2019) by Nathaniel Mary Quinn on its cover.

Still from video Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt

Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt

Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.

Free Arts NYC

The Bigger Picture
Free Arts NYC

Meredith Mendelsohn discusses the impact of Free Arts NYC and its mission to foster creativity in children and teens, on the occasion of its twenty-year anniversary.

Black Book

Book Corner
Black Book

Christopher Wool’s Black Book (1989) was selected by Douglas Flamm, a rare-book specialist at Gagosian, for a special focus. Text by Anna Heyward.

Painting Paintings (David Reed) 1975

Painting Paintings (David Reed) 1975

In this video, Christopher Wool, Katy Siegel, and David Reed discuss Reed’s paintings and memories of the New York arts scene in 1975.

New York, 1975

New York, 1975

Katy Siegel and Christopher Wool discuss David Reed’s paintings and the New York art scene in 1975.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Capri 53.57), 2020 © Mark Grotjahn

Support

The Kitchen
Ice and Fire: A Benefit Exhibition in Three Parts

October 15, 2020–January 31, 2021

The benefit exhibition Ice and Fire features works by more than forty artists who have enduring relationships with the Kitchen in New York. Installed within the organization’s three-story space in Chelsea, which is currently closed due to the global pandemic, the three-part exhibition is viewable online. Proceeds from sales will go toward a planned renovation on the occasion of the Kitchen’s fiftieth anniversary, ensuring that the nonprofit space will remain a platform for artistic experimentation in its historic and beloved building. Work by Cecily Brown, Roe Ethridge, Mark Grotjahn, Alex Israel, Ed Ruscha, Taryn Simon, Mary Weatherford, and Christopher Wool is included.

Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Capri 53.57), 2020 © Mark Grotjahn

Katharina Grosse, Shake Before Using, 2020 © Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2020

Support

Artist Plate Project
Coalition for the Homeless

November 16–December 14, 2020

Gagosian is pleased to support the Coalition for the Homeless’s Artist Plate Project fundraiser. Artwork by fifty artists, including Cecily Brown, Katharina Grosse, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Sarah Sze, Andy Warhol, Jonas Wood, and Christopher Wool, is featured on limited-edition dinner plates produced by Prospect and made available through Artware Editions to support the Coalition’s lifesaving programs. All of the funds raised by the sale of the plates will provide food, crisis services, housing, and other critical aid to thousands of people experiencing homelessness and instability. The purchase of one plate can feed seventy-five homeless and hungry New Yorkers.

Katharina Grosse, Shake Before Using, 2020 © Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2020

Sarah Sze, Afterimage, Silver, 2018 © Sarah Sze

Support

Artists for Biden

October 2–8, 2020

Artists for Biden is an online-only sale of works by leading contemporary artists to support the Biden Victory Fund—a joint fundraising committee authorized by Biden for President, the Democratic National Committee, and forty-seven state Democratic parties. All proceeds from the sale will provide resources needed to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and support other Democratic candidates across the country in the lead up to Election Day. Work by Cecily Brown, Michael Heizer, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Brice Marden, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Sarah Sze, Stanley Whitney, and Christopher Wool will be available. To register for early access on October 1, visit secure.joebiden.com.

Sarah Sze, Afterimage, Silver, 2018 © Sarah Sze

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Museum Exhibitions

Jay DeFeo, Untitled (Tripod series), c. 1976, Museum of Modern Art, New York © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Closed

Artist’s Choice
Amy Sillman—The Shape of Shape

October 21, 2019–April 12, 2020
Museum of Modern Art, New York
www.moma.org

In The Shape of Shape, Amy Sillman—an artist who has helped redefine contemporary painting, pushing the medium into drawing, installations, video, and zines—has created a revelatory Artist’s Choice installation drawn from the museum’s collection. The exhibition features works, many rarely seen, spanning vastly different time periods, places, and mediums. Work by Jay DeFeo, Helen Frankenthaler, Howard Hodgkin, Henry Moore, Albert Oehlen, and Christopher Wool is included.

Jay DeFeo, Untitled (Tripod series), c. 1976, Museum of Modern Art, New York © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Closed

Maybe Maybe Not
Christopher Wool and the Hill Collection

February 9–June 28, 2019
Hill Art Foundation, New York
hillartfoundation.org

Maybe Maybe Not inaugurates the exhibition program of the Hill Art Foundation, a cultural center conceived to offer broad public access to the incredible collection of works assembled by Janine and J. Tomilson Hill over the past four decades. This presentation of paintings, works on paper, photographs, and prints encapsulates the evolution of Christopher Wool’s career, ranging from his early experiments with ready-made forms in pattern and word paintings to his more recent explorations of spontaneous gesture and digital intervention.

Installation view, Unpacking: The Marciano Collection, Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles, May 25–September 16, 2017. Artwork, left to right: © Albert Oehlen, © Christopher Wool

Closed

Unpacking
The Marciano Collection

May 25–September 16, 2017
Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles
marcianoartfoundation.org

Unpacking: The Marciano Collection was the debut presentation of the collection’s holdings organized by Philipp Kaiser. The title and theme of the show were derived from Walter Benjamin’s essay “Unpacking My Library,” in which he discusses the chaotic potentiality inherent in unpacking and recontextualizing one’s collection. Work by Mark Grotjahn, Jennifer Guidi, Thomas Houseago, Alex Israel, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Sterling Ruby, Cindy Sherman, Franz West, Jonas Wood, and Christopher Wool was included.

Installation view, Unpacking: The Marciano Collection, Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles, May 25–September 16, 2017. Artwork, left to right: © Albert Oehlen, © Christopher Wool

Photo by Nathalie Savale

Closed

Hartung and Lyrical Painters

December 11, 2016–April 17, 2017
Fonds Hèlène & Èdouard Leclerc pour la Culture, Landerneau, France
www.fonds-culturel-leclerc.fr

Exploring the history of lyrical abstraction, this exhibition, curated by Xavier Douroux, brings together notable modern and contemporary artists who resonate with the work of Hans Hartung. Works by Helen Frankenthaler, Albert Oehlen, Cy Twombly, and Christopher Wool are on view.

Photo by Nathalie Savale

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Press

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