In-your-face, brutally pleasing, achingly simple, deceptively frank, the work of Christopher Wool is so very New York. Though he owes a debt to Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, he completely transcends - even demolishes - these genres. Whether it's a text-based painting or an abstract spray-painted piece, his work is immediately engaging and deeply satisfying. Wool questions painting, like many other artists in his generation, but he doesn't provide any easy answers."The harder you look the harder you look," as he titled one of his word paintings, is an excellent example of how he states the obvious whilst provoking us to think deeper about what seems obvious. In his dry, dead-pan, trademark word paintings, we see single words or quotes from films and music ("Trbl," "Riot," "Sell the House, Sell the Car, Sell the Kids," "Run Dog Run"), evoking a world that can be as tough as the bleak black and white photographs of empty New York streets where every puddle lit up by the flash looks like a crime scene. As Richard Hell aptly put it, Wool's pictures look like paintings of paintings that unapologetically assert themselves as great works because, well, they are.Exploring Wool's work in close to 500 pages, this monograph is staggering in its scope and depth. Editor Hans Werner Holzwarth has previously collaborated on several artist books with Wool, so his knowledge not just of the work but the artist himself brings a palpable dimension to the book. All work groups are covered in large-scale reproductions and are accompanied by countless production Polaroids and installation photos by Wool himself. The texts analyze Wool's career from its roots in the early 1980s to its current state as one of the most important and widely celebrated in contemporary art.