Over a career that spans three decades, Christopher Wool’s practice spans across photographs, prints, artist’s books, and, more recently, sculpture. Wool was born in 1955 and grew up in Chicago. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York, and the New York Studio School. While a student, Wool was integrated with the anarchic energy of punk and No Wave scenes in downtown New York City which were instrumental to his creative pursuits. At the outset of his mature career in the mid-1980s, Wool took to compositions that employed commercial tools and imagery appropriated from mass culture. He is best known for his works that use rollers and stamps to transfer decorative patterns in severe black enamel to a white ground, known as “word paintings,” from the same period focused on language as image, confronting the viewer with stenciled letters blending into abstract geometries. Wool’s formal system involved slips and glitches, fractured text and erratic spacing which ultimately conveyed a range of emotional messages.
Wool’s work has been exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions. Solo shows include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1989); Museum Boymans—Van Beuningen, Rodderdam, Netherlands (1991, traveled to Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland; and Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany); Eli Broad Family Fondation, 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, Calencia, Spain (2006); ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Zurich (2006); Museu de Serralves, Porto, Portual (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.