Los Angeles

Christopher Wool

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

Confessions first: I am not a “pure” critic. I routinely purchase works of art with the money I earn by writing about them. In my youth, I actually owned a gallery and sold art for a living. As a consequence, I never stroll through an institutional exhibition, in my role as art critic, unaccompanied by my two unfashionable alter-egos: the low-end collector and the ex–art dealer. These guys usually feel marginalized on such occasions, since present fashion dictates that we look at art the way we listen to songs on the radio—looking for the two-minute stand—the short-attention-span bang of the single encounter. Collectors and dealers are always looking for a long-term relationship, for nuances in the shifting sociability of people and objects, and there is not much of that around.

Strolling through Christopher Wool's midcareer survey, however, Herr Collector and Mister Dealer were happy as

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