Michael Wolf investigated new perspectives on urban life and its structure in the digital age. He addressed the realities of 21st century metropolitan existence, one defined by constant access, vanishing privacy, and unlimited exposure. In a diverse array of mediums, from large format cameras capturing architectural landscapes, to appropriating Google’s Street View imagery to isolate anonymous city dwellers, the artist explored the density of city life. His eye for detail within the online world allowed him to introduce a certain vernacular visual language into his work, as well as balance the private and the public, the anonymity and the individuality, the faraway to the up close. Wolf’s deliberate and engaging compositions highlighted his innovative vision, reflecting a new approach to imagining our world’s most photographed cities.
Born in 1954 in Munich, Wolf grew up in the United States, Europe, and Canada, and studied at University of California Berkeley and at the University of Essen in Germany. He moved to China in 1995 to study China’s cultural identity and the complexities of its urban architecture. The German American artist has won first prize in the World Press Photo Award Competition in 2005 and 2010 and was granted an honorable mention in 2011. In 2010 and again in 2016, Wolf was shortlisted for the prestigious Prix Pictet. Since joining Bruce Silverstein, he has had a major solo exhibition entitled iseeyou with the gallery in 2010.
Wolf has had exhibitions at Les Recontres d'Arles, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; Goethe Institute, Hong Kong; Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; Museum Center Vapriikki, Tempere, Finland; Aperture Gallery, New York and the Venice Biennale of Architecture among others.
His work is held in many permanent collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany; the Brooklyn Museum; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, Kansas City; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago.
Wolf has published numerous monographs including most recently, Michael Wolf Works (2017), Tokyo Compression Revisited (2011), Real Fake Art (2011), Tokyo Compression (2010),Hong Kong: Inside/Outside (2009), The Transparent City (2008), Hong Kong: Front Door/Back Door, (2005), and Sitting in China (2002).