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May 24, 2024 By Alex Vlasov
See Stop Run

Christopher Wool: See Stop Run, 101 Greenwich St. New York. Installation view 

There is something I need to tell ya. Let’s put it in a very simple way. You have to catch the See Stop Run exhibition by Christopher Wool. It is the only show in New York where tourists do not take selfies in front of works of art, and the pretentiousness of the white walls of Pace or David Zwirner does not leave their slick doors. 


I thought about Wool’s show sitting on a bench in the park. I thought about how I could connect the artist’s work to art history, describe the majority of works in the show, then go on with scholarly speculations, cite a bouillabaisse of smart French philosophers with their long intellectual quotes, and even give him a critique. But this multihued mist is what everybody else does these days. This paradigm, with its politesse, is like junk mail. I don’t know about yours, but my mailbox is full of this junk. Right here in the US of A, art criticism in Artforum or Hyperallergic is hegemonic, and I would only delude you if I say that they know something about art and its raison d'être. Art, unlike art criticism, cannot exist as a template format. Because it tells us something new each time we encounter it. So, I am sorry if you are looking for a description of objects in the show, what they reminded me of, or a quote from Jacques Derrida. No offense, but I am not a schlimazel who writes for Art in America. SEE the show for yourself, STOP to think about the Wool’s oeuvre, and RUN the fuck out of Manhattan because it is not the ‘70s in New York, and good art is rare to find. 

Christopher Wool: See Stop Run, 101 Greenwich St. New York. Installation view

Out there on the highway of the art world - there are gamblers, and there are art professionals. If you are a gambler like Christopher Wool, commit some outrageous offenses distant to the art pros. Refuse to write a didactic that accompanies a work of art, burn that stupid vinyl with the title of your show, install a piece next to the Work Permit Department of Buildings of NYC, or merely take an Incomplete in Conceptual Art, and then never write the fucking paper. It is not the Department of Motor Vehicles, do anything you wanna do, like in Eddie and the Hot Rods’ song.


The basic goal of a writer, whether it is an essay about quantitative physics or art, is that the reader can keep on reading. Likewise, the basic goal of an artist is that the viewer who came to look at art can keep on looking. In the midst of paintings, photographs, sculptures, books, and a mosaic on the 19th floor at 101 Greenwich, there is a lot to see, and everything is open to interpretation. In Wool’s show, the risk is remarkable, one’s heart is open, the environment is liveable, and the quotidian life of today’s art world is disturbed. Standing there in my pair of blue jeans worth forty bucks, classic white Reeboks, and orange Syracuse hat, I am not alienated. I can look at art closely, chat with people about the show, or sit and flip through Wool’s books as long as I desire. There are no standards. This solecism is the pivotal moment of this show. Wool demonstrates that “the rules” are easily changeable when they become boring. It is an artist who has the right to decide. With its appealing aesthetic, the unoccupied commercial lofts or vacant lots on Prince are not what’s nostalgic. Nor the halcyon days of the ‘70s. This reminiscence about the past is about freedom. It’s not about places, time, or fucking drywall and bricks. It’s about the drift.

Christopher Wool: See Stop Run, 101 Greenwich St. New York. Installation view 

The roughness of the space does not mitigate the experience. Once out of the elevator, you step onto a construction site. The measurements of carpenters are still present on the walls, vocalizing the rhythm of a jobsite. The innumerable windows articulate the visual rhythm. With its frivolousness, the place possesses moments of eccentricity. In combination with the work, this exhibition becomes an ephemeral grail. The virtue of not having a template presents new occurrences. These appearances are unaccounted for in the white cubes or museums. See Stop Run takes place outside of the miasma of fashionable institutional rules. The exhibition allows you to see, hear, taste, and feel the work outside its boundaries. Thus, readings of the work are expanded. 


One thought occurred to me during one of my three visits. Down there on the 12th floor or up there on the 26th floor, people rarely have a chance to run out of their cubicles. Herein lies the true satisfaction of seeing an artist who takes a risk. In the egg-and-spoon race of the art world, it is still about bringing the fire and forgetting about the stupid spoons. The problem of art professionals is that they are more fluent and involved in Derrida and Deleuze rather than in what kind of thoughts art provokes. But gamblers are gamblers. They undergo the culture industry. As Kenny Rogers sings, “You've got to know when to hold 'em / Know when to fold 'em / Know when to walk away / And know when to run / You never count your money / When you're sittin' at the table / There'll be time enough for countin' / When the dealin's done.” Any gambler will tell that this is what Christopher Wool’s largest exhibition of the past decade demonstrates. Wool knows when to hold ‘em, knows when to fold ‘em, and never counts the fucking money. 


Alex Vlasov

May 2024

Christopher Wool: See Stop Run

March 14 - July 31, 2024

Thursday - Sunday, 12 - 6 PM

101 Greenwich St. (Entrance on Rector St.) New York, NY 10006 19th Floor

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