Christopher Wool, Untitled, 2011
Guggenheim Museum presents Christopher Wool
At the heart of Christopher Wool’s creative project, which spans three decades of highly focused practice, is the question of how a picture can be conceived, realized, and experienced today. Engaging the complexities of painting as a medium, as well as the anxious rhythms of the urban environment and a wide range of cultural references, his agile, largely monochrome works propose an open-ended series of responses to this central problem. This retrospective will fill the museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright – designed rotunda and an adjacent gallery with a rich selection of paintings, photographs, and works on paper, forming the most comprehensive examination to date of Wool’s career.
Christopher Wool, Untitled, 2000. Enamel on aluminum, 274.3 x 182.9 cm
Since his emergence in the 1980s, Christopher Wool has forged an agile, highly focused practice that ranges across processes and mediums, paying special attention to the complexities of painting. Each new work is a site of restless experimentation in which Wool continually disrupts and renews the terms of his artistic production. With the exception of two galleries at the starting and ending points of the installation that will intersperse works from different periods, the exhibition will unfold along loosely chronological lines, presenting an overview of pivotal developments in the artist’s career.
Christopher Wool, Untitled, 2010. Enamel on linen, 243.8 x 198.1 cm
From the early 1990s through the present, the silkscreen has been a primary tool in Wool’s practice. In the earliest examples of his screenprinted paintings, Wool expanded on the vocabulary of his pattern works, isolating their stylized floral motifs to use as near-abstract units of composition. Frequently in this period, the artist sabotaged his existing forms as a way to covertly generate new ones, layering the flower icons in dense, overlapping configurations that congeal into a single black mass or are obscured with passages of brusque overpainting.
Christopher Wool, Untitled, 2001. Silkscreen ink on linen, 228.6 x 152.4 cm
A number of works created in 1995 evidence Wool’s introduction of a new, wholly freehand gesture in the form of a looping line applied with a spray gun – an irreverent interruption of the imagery below that evokes an act of vandalism on a city street. A large-scale bronze sculpture by Wool, Untitled (2013), will be installed outside the museum on the occasion of the exhibition. The work represents Wool’s first representation of the medium since the mid-1980s.
Guggenheim Museum, New York
October 25, 2013 – January 22, 2014