Wade Guyton (born 1972) is a post-conceptual American artist who among other things makes digital paintings on canvas using scanners and digital inkjet technology.
Guyton was born in Hammond, Indiana, in 1972, and grew up in the small town of Lake City, Tennessee. His father, who died when Guyton was two, and his stepfather, also deceased, were both steelworkers. Guyton’s mother, a homemaker, sometimes worked as a secretary at the Catholic church the family attended. Guyton received a BA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1995. He moved to New York in 1996. Twice rejected for admission to the Whitney Independent Study Program, he attended Hunter College's MFA program from 1996 to 1998.
While a student at Hunter College, Guyton counted Robert Morris among his teachers. Guyton first got a job at St. Mark's Bookshop in the East Village and then worked at Dia:Chelsea as a guard. When Dia closed its Chelsea space in 2004, his severance pay allowed him to continue renting an East Village studio and apartment without having to look for another job.
Guyton’s early “drawings” from around 2003, are filled with black Xs over ripped-out book pages. The color black and the letter X became signature motifs. His tool is an Epson Stylus Pro 9600 inkjet printer, a machine used for large-format prints. Using a computer, Guyton produces paintings. Since 2005, Guyton has worked on canvas. Typically Guyton’s work is exhibited in a series.
In a statement of 2004, Guyton said:
Guyton also makes collaborative works with fellow artists Kelley Walker and Stephen Prina. Along with artists like Walker, Seth Price and Tauba Auerbach, Guyton is regarded by some to be at the forefront of a generation that has been reconsidering both appropriation art and abstract art through the 21st-century lens of digital technology. He is regarded as one of many contemporary painters revisiting late Modernism, alongside Tomma Abts, Mark Grotjahn, Eileen Quinlan, Sergei Jensen, and Cheyney Thompson.
In 2003, Guyton showed at Power House Memphis. Between 2004-14 exhibitions of his work were held at Kunstverein Hamburg; Portikus, Frankfurt am Main; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Belgium; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria; Wiener Secession, Vienna; Kunsthalle Zürich, Zürich. In 2005, then-MoMA PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach included Guyton's inkjet panels in a room with fellow newcomers Seth Price and Josh Smith. The following year, curators Daniel Birnbaum and Hans Ulrich Obrist included Guyton/Walker's brightly colored stacks of paint cans in their "Uncertain States of America" survey at Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo.
In 2009, Guyton and Kelley Walker were invited by Birnbaum to participate at the Venice Biennale, where they exhibited canvases and pieces of drywall at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni. For his 2012 retrospective at the Whitney Museum, Guyton created walls inspired by temporary partitions Marcel Breuer had made for the building in the 1960s.
Guyton's works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Centre Pompidou in Paris; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, the Kunstmuseum Basel; the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Kunsthaus Zürich; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Princeton University Art Museum; Dallas Museum of Art; FRAC, Ile de France; and the Musee d'Art Moderne et Contemporain in Geneva.
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