The previously abstract artist immediately seeks some words that will express the problems of the contemporary world with references to movies and to pop music. After a few drawings he selects his typography and layout, with big letters repeated like through stencils, in perfectly stacked lines like a painting by Agnes Martin.
His three major works painted in 1988 demonstrate that the letter is the main support of the message, preceding the word : Apocalypse Now is a complex sequence of letters with broken words at the end of the line and a few intervals removed. In later works Wool will also remove some vowels. Helter is a huge word divided into two lines and repeated once. Please spans the entire line but is repeated five times.
These themes evoke a shearing that moves the viewer. Apocalypse Now accompanies the departure of the furious hero leaving his wife behind. Helter skelter is a title by the Beatles. Please Please Please is a James Brown rhythm and blues song begging his girlfriend not to leave him.
Apocalypse Now, 213 x 183 cm, was sold for $ 26.5M including premium by Christie's on November 12, 2013 over a lower estimate of $ 15M. Untitled (Helter), 122 x 81 cm, was sold for $ 5.5M including premium by Christie's on November 15, 2016. Untitled (Please), 244 x 142 cm, is estimated $ 15M for sale by Christie's in New York on May 17, lot 24 B.
SOLD for $ 17M including premium