Christopher Wool at the Guggenheim
Reviews Guggenheim Museum
Wool was born in Chicago in 1955. He settled in NYC in the 70s, here he was influenced by the punk and No Wave scenes. He endeavored into painting when everyone was screaming that the medium is outdated. From the beginning his works were quite monochromic. A white background covered in paint rollers’ produced, usually black, graphics and flowers blended into abstract mélanges. He spent a lot of time on the streets of NYC taking photographs. Stray dogs, fish tanks, telephones, architectural details, empty streets, empty shopping cart, trash alleys, abandoned furniture, mail boxes, graffiti to mention a few subjects. Particular objects but nothing in particular really. Never people, always objects, segments of space and time. Lots of dogs.
His works are arranged chronologically loose as you go up the epic F. L. Wright rotunda in the Guggenheim. The museum wide show draws you into the minimalistic abstraction and sources of Wool’s inspiration. ‘Sell the house, sell the car, sell the kids’ is a notable example, the sentence derived by the last letter of colonel Kurtz to his wife in the movie Apocalypse Now. ‘Trbl’ and ‘Fool’ considered auto-portraits of the artist as the four letters fill the entire canvas. ‘You make me’ blank, is a piece I find poetic, for it unites us all under the umbrella of say (I am speculating here) ‘happy’. ‘The harder you look the harder you look’ that one makes me smile every time. And if there is a solution to life, I believe it is smiling.
Smiling is what Wool did when his studio was devastated by fire. He put a new film in his camera and proceeded to make a documentary art piece on the subject ‘Incident on 9th street’. An admirable approach to this major mishap, don’t you think! Whoever said that the ride on the edge of the wave is a short one wasn’t talking about Christopher Wool. For he has kept a firm balance while pushing art to the edge of imagination. What does his art mean? You might as well ask what life means. It means that we have to live up to the edge of our abilities. It means that the grass is not greener on the other side. It means eat your ice cream America because soon we are all going to be in your belly. It means don’t think about all these things you feel, smile.
more by MILEN VASILEV
As originally published on December 19, 2013 by Luxurious Prototype – Review: Christopher Wool Exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum