CHRISTOPHER WOOLUndeletable

Focus on art
essay by Bill Powers

Robert Indiana died yesterday. And I was reminded that the first piece of contemporary art I ever saw as a child was his

LO
VE

poster, which hung prominently in the hallway outside my parents’ bedroom. Mom and dad divorced three years later. Now I can look back on that episode through a filter of irony – til death do us part? wink – or as a promise they tried failingly to keep. Either way the Robert Indiana poster – LOVE screaming in all caps – registers as a kind of prophecy. So then the question follows,“What next?” If you believe in reactionary narratives or apostolic succession, paintings like Christopher Wool’s

IFYOUCAN
T TAKE
AJOKEYOU
CANGETHE
THEFUCK
OUT FUCK
OUTOF OF
MYHOUSEmake a lot of sense. The logic here is rooted in the wake of our collective optimism derailed, a malaise permeating American society in the 1980s.But history being wild as it is, this citing of influence is perhaps too convenient a thread to tease out, especially when cases could be made that Wool’s text paintings owe a larger debt to someone like Bruce Nauman.

 

  To read the full interview download MUSE 50