Black Book by Christopher Wool

Black Book by Christopher Wool

Black Book exemplifies Christopher Wool’s use of the typographical word as a pictorial image. It is an oversized object, roughly twenty-three inches tall, and contains forty pages bearing seventeen reproductions of enamel drawings. Jet-black paper covers the boards that bind it. Each page of the book contains a single word, inscribed like a large-scale code.

Published in 1989, Black Book marks a moment when Wool’s work stirred the New York art scene. His bold and rebellious word paintings have since become canonical: white canvases in which stenciled all-capital black letters spell out phrases like “sell the house sell the car sell the kids.” The planar use of the word as a painterly method has come to symbolize Wool’s stark energy. These works typify a brash, generative moment that resonates still.

The drawings reproduced in Black Book have been exhibited in their own right, notably in 2013, as part of the most comprehensive examination of Wool’s career to date, organized by New York’s Guggenheim Museum and traveling through 2014 to The Art Institute of Chicago. Transposed into an artist’s book, they suggest at least as many layers and diverted streams of information as Wool’s word paintings do. They also index, without conforming to, a crowd of artistic cultures: street art, Conceptual art, Pop. The text-based work finds a paradigmatic and tactile expression in this distributive format. Black Book is printed on smooth wove paper in an edition of 350, each copy being signed and numbered by Wool on the colophon. The book was co-published by Thea Westreich, New York, and Gisela Capitain, Cologne, and produced by Studley Press, in Massachusetts. Westreich and her husband, Ethan Wagner, who have published artist’s books since the late 1980s, are noted collectors of Wool’s work.

ARTWORK

Black Book by Christopher Wool
Black Book by Christopher Wool
Black Book by Christopher Wool
1989
Adversary by Christopher Wool
Adversary (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
Adversary (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
1989
Assistant by Christopher Wool
Assistant (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
Assistant (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
1989
Assassin by Christopher Wool
Assassin (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
Assassin (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
1989
Authority by Christopher Wool
Authority (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
Authority (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
1989
Celebrity - page from the Black Book by Christopher Wool
Celebrity (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
Celebrity (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
1989
Chameleon by Christopher Wool
Chameleon (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
Chameleon (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
1989
Comedian by Christopher Wool
Comedian (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
Comedian (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
1989
Hypnotist by Christopher Wool
Hypnotist (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
Hypnotist (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
1989
Hypocrite by Christopher Wool
Hypocrite (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
Hypocrite (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
1989
Paranoiac by Christopher Wool
Paranoiac (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
Paranoiac (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
1989
Pessimist by Christopher Wool
Pessimist (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
Pessimist (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
1989
Persuader (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
Persuader (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
Persuader (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
1989
spokesman by Christopher Wool
Spokesman (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
Spokesman (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
1989
Terrorist by Christopher Wool
Terrorist (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
Terrorist (Black Book) by Christopher Wool
1989