Christopher Wool, its not always beautiful...but what is?
Brilliant critics, especially the male ones, have lambasted Wool. Dave Hickey deemed his work “trendy negativity … academically palatable brand of designer-punk agitprop.” The L.A. Times’s Christopher Knight dismissed it as “banal,” “impoverished,” and “startlingly conservative.” LA Weekly’s Doug Harvey seethed that “shtick-crippled” Wool’s paintings are “pedantic crap.” The Guardian’s Adrian Searle tweeted recently: “He. Is. Just. Not. That. Good.” These guys don’t like that Wool’s art isn’t “beautiful” in traditional painterly ways and isn’t dryly conceptual or pop. I think it splits the difference and arrives at something electric and generative. Just last week, my pal Peter Schjeldahl came right out and wrote that he does “fondly wish … for a champion whose art is richer in beauty and charm.” For me, Wool’s work has a lot of both.Maika Pollock, of the GalleristNY, writes
Mr. Wool’s work suggests that the nihilist swipe is the move his generation could add to painting.I appreciate that unlike many of the critics Saltz calls to task above, Pollock and Saltz are able to look at the paintings for what they do, rather than what they want them to do.