Christopher Williams (artist)

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Christopher Williams (born 1956, Los Angeles) is an American conceptual artist and fine art photographer.[1] He lives in Cologne and works in Düsseldorf.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

In the 1970s and early 1980s, he studied at the California Institute of the Arts where he received his B.F.A. and M.F.A. under the first generation of West Coast conceptual artists including John Baldessari,[3] Douglas Huebler, and Michael Asher.[4] Since October 2008 he has been a Professor in Photography at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. His wife is curator and former Stedelijk Museum director Ann Goldstein.[5]


Writing in Artforum in 2007, art critic Tim Griffin described Williams's approach as "sociophotographic."[6] It has been said that Williams works within the tradition of institutional critique within what Sven Lütticken describes as an informal group, along with Willem de Rooij, Jeroen de Rijke and Mathias Poledna, that investigates the "parameters of the exhibition space."[7] Chronologically, however, he belongs to the Pictures Generation, whose members include Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, James Welling and Louise Lawler.[8] In 1982 Williams had his first solo exhibition at Jancar/Kuhlenschmidt Gallery in Los Angeles.

Angola to Vietnam is a photography portfolio of glass flowers[9][9][10]

In 2000, at an exhibition at David Zwirner Gallery, in New York, Williams showed twenty photographs including a series of pictures of a 1964 Renault automobile on its side. Writing in the New York Times Ken Johnson said, "the Renault was made in a French factory where significant revolutionary activities took place in 1968; hence it is tipped up like a barricade."[3]

Williams' photographs oftentimes show increasingly obsolescent film-based equipment — cameras, lenses and darkroom gear — as beautiful and precise as catalog product shots. The accompanying text adds detail about how the equipment was used.[11] Made by a professional photographer who follows Williams's directions,[2] the conventionally scaled pictures have the glossy lucidity of excellent commercial photographs.[3]

Williams received a 2005-2006 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.[12]



Williams' work has been the subject of solo exhibitions worldwide, most recently at the Art Institute of Chicago (2014); Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany; Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (both 2011); Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany; and the Bergen Kunsthall, Norway (both 2010). Other notable solo exhibitions include the Kunsthalle Zürich (2007); Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2006); Secession, Vienna; and the Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany (both 2005).[13] Since joining David Zwirner in 2000, Williams has had five solo exhibitions at the gallery in New York. "Christopher Williams: For Example: Dix-Huit Leçons Sur La Société Industrielle (Revision 18)" marked his first solo show at David Zwirner, London, in 2013.[14]

Williams participated in the 55th Venice Biennale in June 2013, curated by Massimiliano Gioni. His first solo museum exhibition in the United States opened in 2014 at The Art Institute of Chicago and will travel to The Museum of Modern Art, New York.[15]


Major museum collections which hold works by the artist include the Art Institute of Chicago; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; amongst others.[13]



External links[edit]