On view at the Guggenheim until January 22 is a dynamic show by Christopher Wool. Inside the massive rotunda you’ll be surrounded by text, layered imagery, prints, and unexpected floral patterns of all dimensions. Much like the ambiguity in Christopher Wool’s work, the entire show reminds us that embedded within New York City is a rich history of cultural shifts both with prosperous and adverse allusions. On the stark pristine white walls hangs artwork that is heavily informed by the fortitude of artists and musicians in downtown Manhattan during the late 1980’s. References of the everyday like graffiti, street wreckage, to the motifs on tenement building hallways like Untitled (1987) are present.
A theme of contrasting forces is evident. We see it in the types of materials Wool uses for his pieces – sterile enamel on aluminum displayed with delicate silkscreen pieces on linen. There’s opposition of the elements through the linear qualities of black and white text paintings presented with screen-prints that promote a collage-like feel with traces of color.
Pulling from punk rock records, various writers and philosophers, the text Wool references to in his word paintings create a playful yet precarious mood hinting at social commentary. You’ll notice many viewers pondering the text in Untitled (1997) whispering the words to themselves left curious and wondering.
The lines have been winding around the museum since the show is in its last weeks. You can pre-purchase your tickets online at guggenheim.org.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue
(at 89th Street)
New York, NY 10128-0173