Christopher Wool was born in 1955 in Chicago, Illinois, United States. In 1973, he moved to New York City and enrolled in Studio School studies with Jack Tworkov and Harry Krame. After a short period of formal training as a painter at the New York Studio School, he dropped out and immersed himself in the world of underground film and music. Between 1980 and 1984, he worked as part-time studio assistant to Joel Shapiro. Since the 1980s, Wool's art has incorporated issues surrounding post-conceptual ideas.
Wool is best known for his word paintings, white canvases with black stenciled letters spelling out text. In his early paintings, Wool used commercial rollers to apply decorative effects on canvas, and he has continued to explore pattern in his art. Incorporating media and techniques including photography, silkscreen, reproduction, overpainting, and erasing, Wool's work often combines human and machine marks, as in his paintings in which he smudges black lines drawn with a spray gun into gray fields.
In 1998, a retrospective of Wool's work was mounted at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, an exhibition which then traveled to the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland. In 2009 he had an exhibition at the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig in Köln, Germany and in 2012 at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. From October 25, 2013 to January 22, 2014, a retrospective of Wool's work was exhibited at The Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and traveled to the Art Institute of Chicago in the spring of 2014.
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