In the late 1980s, inspired by the graffiti of “sex” and “luv” on a white delivery truck, Christopher Wool began incorporating text into his work. The paintings that followed are perhaps Wool’s most recognizable images. Applying black enamel through industrial-style letter stencils onto sheets of white-painted aluminum, Wool repurposes and reactivates passages from cultural idioms and song lyrics. Untitled features the words “Run” and “Dog” across a series of nine aluminum panels. The arrangement of the panels varies depending on where they are displayed, thus meaning changes as the words are reordered. The resulting phrases are always frantic — sometimes composed as commands, “Run Dog Run,” and other times as stuttered ramblings, “Dog Run Run.” The words themselves are broken up within each panel, a small but thorny impediment to comprehension; they must be reassembled before being read. This delay makes the simple three-letter words — for a split second — unfamiliar.
enamel and acrylic on nine aluminum panels
96 x 64 in. (243.84 x 162.56 cm)
About this artwork
Read more about Christopher Wool