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majerus wool warhol…“cold beer” the “smudge tool” and other short stories

Press release


majerus wool warhol… “cold beer” the “smudge tool” and other short stories

We are delighted to present majerus wool warhol…“cold beer” the “smudge tool” and other short stories, curated by Peter Pakesch. An exhibition charting the rich artistic exchanges shared by Michel Majerus (1967–2002), Christopher Wool (b. 1955) and Andy Warhol (1928–1987), it is led by the personal recollections of Wool, notes made by Majerus and extensive research. Artworks are brought together that exemplify the creative and mutually influential friendship between Wool and Majerus, as well as their shared admiration of Warhol. 

Inevitably, becoming a painter is a journey accompanied by the paintings and images of one’s forerunners. Every image has its precedent and everything new, on some level, seeks to make sense of and revise what has already been seen. In contemporary and modern art, this process was accelerated by the technological advent of photography, film and the vast possibilities of digital circulation. In the 1980s Andy Warhol came into focus for a generation proceeding him. His work was able to close the gap between the affirmatory sloganism of Pop Art and the critical positions of conceptual art. As seen in his Brillo Boxes, Flowers and Disaster Paintings, Warhol understood with prescience the ever-encroaching power of images, their repetition, revision, distribution and syndication. 

In this cultural matrix, in the 1980s, Christopher Wool was developing his work in an environment fascinated by media, particularly film, music and photography, and the functionality of objects. He adopted simple mechanical processes to make fundamental statements about the latest media, such as applying paint to the hyper, reflective and industrial surface of aluminum with pattern rollers and stencils. In later years, working on canvas and silkscreen printing, as Warhol had before him, Wool further reduced his material language to grapple with the increasingly complex visual landscape. As Pakesch notes, “it is a paradox that makes his work so fascinating.” 

Parallel with Wool, on the other side of the Atlantic, a new generation of painters reacted to the Neue Wilde, reviewing the use of media in painting in their own right. A decade later in the 1990s, Michel Majerus emerged from his tutelage under Joseph Kosuth and almost in an act of defiance, turned his attention to painting. He did so with sharp awareness and a playful handling of his historic predecessors in the medium, whom he quoted, paraphrased and responded to with irony and admiration in equal measure. Into this visual conversation, he brought computer games, nascent digital graphics, and the language of advertising. At home in his omnivorous world of visual sampling, he freely borrowed from his idol Christopher Wool, to make the painting with the letters “Cool Wool” (1992). The two artists would finally meet in 1993 in Berlin and the great friendship and creative exchange that followed over the next decade is the subject of the exhibition. Works on view cite the mutual influences they exerted on one another and their shared admiration for an artist who looms large over a generation wrestling with the meaning of images in a time of their unprecedented profusion. 

The current program can be found on the website www.michelmajerus.com.

For more information and press images, please contact the Michel Majerus Estate.