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Browse Christopher Wool Prints available at Shapero Modern


Christopher Wool (1955 – Present) was born in 1955 in Boston, moving to the Hyde Park neighbourhood in Chicago the same year. Wool first began to study art and photography in high school under Robert Donald Erickson, a painter in the style of László Mohogly – Nagy. At 17, knowing he wished to pursue a career as an artist, Wool enrolled to take classes at the Sarah Lawrence College in New York under Richard Pousette-Dart’s guidance, with the aim to finish high school alongside this undertaking. Wool later dropped out to focus exclusively on his art work, enrolling at the New York Studio School, where he received an Abstract Expressionist education in technique and style. Wool immersed himself in the underground art community in New York, characterized by gallery graffiti, performance art and mixed-media practices. Wool enrolled to study film at the New York University, and later worked as studio assistant to Joel Shapiro from 1980 until 1984.

In 1981, Wool sold his first work to Dieter Roth. Wool held his first solo exhibition at Dalrymple’s and Klagsbrun’s Cable Gallery, and published his book 93 Drawings of Beer on the Wall that same year. In 1987, he begun to create his best known word paintings. He cites inspiration for the style he adopted as a snapshot moment on a New York Street with a graffitied delivery truck, where he was drawn to the stark visual aesthetic of the image and driven to play with graffiti style words in his work. Wool subsequently begun to silk-screen black words against white backgrounds, playing with conventional spelling and slang to experiment with language’s malleability depending on who, and in what space, it is in use. Wool begun his first artistic collaboration during this time with Robert Gober on two paintings My Name and My Act (1988).

In 1989, Wool undertook a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. He published his Black Book the same year, a collection of 9 of his word paintings. When he returned to New York in 1991, Wool relocated his studio and begun a second residency with DAAD in Berlin, publishing a collection of his photography within two years titled Absent without Leave. In 2004 he published East Broadway Breakdown and collaborated with Josh Smith to publish another photography collection Can Your Monkey Do the Dog in 2008.

Wool had a significant retrospective exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2013, where his work was linked with significant contemporary Jeff Koons. He designed the Sonic Youth Album cover Rather Ripped, and is collected feverishly both locally in New York and world wide.

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