Christopher Wool

Biography of Christopher Wool

Christopher Wool (born 1955 in Boston) is a painter and graphic designer, generally considered to be one of the most influential post-conceptual American artists alive today. Christopher Wool first achieved global fame in the mid-1980s with his large-scale wood paintings. These works are made from white-grounded aluminum boards and are decorated with black word-fragments that are spray painted on using stencils.


A contemporary of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Cindy Sherman in the downtown New York art scene of the 1980s, Christopher Wool was inspired to create his text-based works by graffiti techniques that he saw in his neighborhood. His works rely on a grid system, and break up words in an illogical and disjointed manner meaning they often need to be read out loud to make sense. In the 1990s, silkscreen became Christopher Wool’s preferred technique. He started to reuse imagery to produce multi-layered creations. In his recent series Gray Paintings—large-scale, abstract canvases—the American artist explores themes of creation and destruction.


Christopher Wool’s works have been the subject of a vast number of exhibitions worldwide and his solo shows have been held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, amongst others. The artist’s awards include being named a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, serving as a DAAD Berlin Artist-in-Residence and receiving the Wolfgang Hahn Prize. In 2010, Christopher Wool was also honored with amfAR’s Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS. He currently lives and works in New York and Marfa, Texas together with his wife and fellow artist Charline von Heyl.

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