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The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 19-JAN 20

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DEC 19-JAN 20 Issue
Critics Page

Christopher Wool

Christopher Wool, Untitled, 2013. Lithograph in 2 colors on J. Whatman handmade paper, 30 1/2 x 22 1/2 inches. Courtesy ULAE.

i’m afraid i may disappoint in this dialogue since as an artist/painter i don't think that differentiating between mediums is of such importance…for me it’s all part of the stew …in recent years i’ve been making sculpture and done a lot of photographic work along with painting and printmaking…this is common for my generation of artists who were especially multimedia heavy (maybe even reluctant to commit to any specific medium)…think mike kelly or martin kippenberger david wojnarowicz…in the ’70s and ’80s there was a lot of serious discussion about issues of visual arts relevance… “is/was painting dead”… an important cultural discussion that was in my mind somewhat misguided…it wasn’t painting that was in question it was what artists were doing with it that that needed to be questioned…i know mcluhan’s dictum “the medium is the message” had a great ring to it but things didn't seem to work that way for me…this was the same period (late ’70s) that radical musicians were questioning rock and roll in a similar fashion…they may have said they were seeking to destroy rock and roll but in the end these times were incredibly productive (as well as destructive) times… one step back two steps forward….i’m afraid that discussing printmaking in this way…as its own medium…only adds to its ghettoization…i came pretty late to printmaking mostly because i had for some time found it helpful to use print techniques in my paintings….stencil rubber stamps silkscreen spray paint…. these processes allowed me to remove my hand from the work and this had a liberating effect…it told a different story…but now i've in some ways come full circle…or maybe i should say 180 degrees…where printmaking especially etching is a place where i can be much more comfortable keeping my drawing hand in the arena…i like the inherent contradictions…bronze and etching and silver gelatin prints are all so loaded and expressive by nature while on the other hand everything for me is built on digital media with everything running through photoshop…i don’t know what this means or where i’m going with this except to say…what medium??…it’s not the message…

Contributor

Christopher Wool

Christopher Wool lives and works in New York City and Marfa, Texas.

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The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 19-JAN 20

All Issues