Christopher Wool: See Stop Run | 101 Greenwich

The exhibition takes place on the entire 19th floor of an unoccupied office building in the heart of the financial district in New York City. Christopher Wool, who last exhibited on this scale 10 years ago at the Guggenheim uptown, luxuriates in the un-white-cubiness of the space. Specifically, the poetic potential of chipped and weathered plasterboard - sorry, “drywall”, as the locals would have it.

“His gaze focuses on the dry, the dirt, the mess, the glitch, the repetition, not to denounce or capitalize on their abjection but to embrace them as liberating and generative tools.” So says the show’s curator Anne Pontégnie, in an accompanying essay. She’s talking about Wool’s photos of the landscapes that surround him at home in Marfa, Texas. But it’s also an apt description of his stencilled canvas and aluminium wall works; his tightly-coiled wire-bundle sculptures; his mosaics. Examples of each confront you as you exit the lifts at 101 Greenwich.

Christopher Wool ‘See Stop Run’ (installation view)

Beyond that, through the dusty windows, is downtown New York City, a genuinely incomparable urban landscape of “glitch” and “mess” that takes any visitor’s breath away. Wool’s art, however, also forces us to consider the ripped-out old office’s “dirt” and “repetition”.

Specifically, the electric wires trailing from the ceiling. The blobs of plaster. The torn out, chipped and weathered walls. The palimpsest of human contact, from grafitti’d cartoons to inspection papers from the city authorities, carefully signed in biro.

I went back to the drywall again and again, framing and contextualising the prints and sculptures. On some of the pillars, pinkish and patterned. Mainly a sickly off-white. Almost a perfect representation of Wool’s obsessive themes of obliteration and coverup.

The show will run for a minimum of four months, a gallery assistant said. She mentioned that many people had been back several times already. Before I left, I took a peek behind a beautiful mosaic made of stone and glass that covered one of the office walls. There was dust, grime, and boxes of IKEA glassware - perhaps for an opening party? Either way, now it was just another layer; part of the show.

See Stop Run is at 101 Greenwich (New York City). March - July 2024