Christopher Wool - Contemporary Art Part I New York Thursday, May 17, 2007 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Sprüth Magers Lee, London

  • Exhibited

    Vienna, KünstlerInnen Wiener Secession, Christopher Wool in the Secession, September 14 – November 11, 2001

  • Literature

    C. Casaban, M. Paz, and D. Rimanelli, Christopher Wool, Valencia, 2006, p. 33 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “If we consider what has become of painting since its service in the glorification of God and princes ended, and furthermore since its role in the nascence of modernism in the visual arts has long ago receded into historical datum and even cliché, coolness remains—as a snide yet intelligent provocation—entrenched as an operative term for contemporary art, whether unreflective or hyper-self-conscious. Modernism has pre-eminently been conceived of as and aesthetic, quasi-ethical movement of rejection of outdated forms; modernist art proceeds by continuously reiterated negations. ‘You take color out, you take gesture out—and then later you can put them back in,’ Wool has remarked. ‘But it’s easier to define things by what they’re not than by what they are.’ Although Wool allows for ‘replenishment’—is this potentially a wellspring of postmodernist painterly practice?—he initially seems to assume a stance of negation that would not be utterly foreign to Clement Greenberg’s conception of modernist painting as a process of stripping the medium of everything unessential to it. Is it a matter of happenstance that Wool makes this statement in a catalogue for an exhibition titled Birth of the Cool? At the same time, Wool personalizes his negation, removes it from the historical-determinist narrative of modernism, and makes his own cool statement: ‘I define myself in my work by reducing the things I don’t want—it seems impossible to know when to say ‘yes,’ but I know what I can say ‘no’ to.’ Cool often zigzags through feelings, thoughts, and glossy magazine pages with another word: Style. ‘Elegance is refusal,’ pronounced Diana Vreeland, a monomaniacal demiurge of chic,” (D. Rimanelli, “Exile on East Broadway”, Christopher Wool, Strasbourg, 2006).


Untitled (P359)

Silkscreen on linen.
108 x 72 in. (274.3 x 182.9 cm).
Signed, titled and dated "WOOL 2001 (P359)" twice on the reverse.

$350,000 - 450,000 

Sold for $456,000

Contemporary Art Part I

17 May 2007
7pm New York