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Steve Wolfe,
born Italy 1955, active San Francisco

Untitled ( Vanguard / Cooks / Sapporo / Durhams / Campari Cartons ), 20012003

Cartons: oil and screenprint on archival cardboard with wooden armature; books: oil, screenprint, lithography, modeling paste, canvas board, paper, wood, 59 x 89.5 x 77.5 Purchase, New York Contemporary Art Acquisitions Committee of American Friends of the Israel Museum B05.0109

What appears to be books packed in cardboard cartons is in fact a set of elaborate, unique replicas of mass-produced items. The books are made of hollow wooden blocks, modeling paste, and linen tape. Each of their trompe-loeil covers, like the cartons, takes months to create using a variety of techniques, from silkscreen or lithographic printing to oil painting. Every time Wolfe works in a different way, painstakingly reproducing signs of time and handling, cigarette burns, creases, tears, on his faux books. The choice of book titles is not arbitrary; it is a careful sampling of reading matter that influenced the artist in his formative years as a teenager, during the decade of the 1960s, and continues to engage him. Like any personal library, Wolfes selection is a kind of self-portrait, delineating his identity and revealing his spiritual and intellectual world.

, | , | , 1995-
To The Israel Museum Exhibition Online | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem | Copyright The Israel Museum, Jerusalem 1995-