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Wade Guyton



Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2008  2011.22a-h
Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2008. Epson UltraChrome inkjet on linen: 84 × 587 × 1 1/2 in. (213.4 × 1491 × 3.8 cm) overall. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee, the Director’s Discretionary Fund, Allison and Warren B. Kanders, Andrew and Christine Hall, Donna Rosen, Pamella DeVos, Melva Bucksbaum and Raymond J. Learsy, Ginevra Caltagirone, Miyoung Lee, and Gregory Miller  2011.22a-h For Teachers
Photograph by Lamay Photo

about this work

The columns of stacked black bars in this work by Wade Guyton were printed, not by hand, but by an Epson UltraChrome Inkjet printer. In many of his works, including this one, Guyton folds swathes of canvas in half and feeds them through the printer multiple times, creating errors that show up in the final product, such as the off-center matching of the bars and the jittery white lines. The bars were created on Microsoft Word software through extremely simple means. When viewed in this expansive—almost fifty-foot long—canvas, they call to mind cell phone reception bars, film strips, stacked windows in a computer monitor, or a dense computer code. With their wobbly patterning and surface errors, however, the mechanically-produced bars are tinged with an almost human sense of fallibility and pathos.


In this video, curator Scott Rothkopf discusses the production of Wade Guyton’s eight-panel painting Untitled (2008) and connects the work to our relationship with technology.

look closer

What do you notice about this artwork?

How do you think the artist made each panel?

How is each panel similar, and how is each panel different?

If you were to add one color to this painting, what color would you choose? Why?

If you could, how would you rearrange the panels? How would that change the artwork?


Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2008  2011.22a-h For Teachers

Wade Guyton created Untitled with the help of an Epson inkjet printer, similar to but larger than printers you may have in your classroom or home. Guyton used black ink to print the large rectangles onto linen, and although the large black and white spaces dominate the painting, there are also faint lines that are a result of Guyton folding or feeding the fabric through the printer. Guyton embraces these mistakes, considering them to be integral parts of his work.

In preparation for this project, have your students save all the artwork they make in your class, including the ones upon which they feel that they’ve made mistakes. After discussing Guyton’s work as a class, ask your students to pull out their collection of work. What kind of mistakes did they think they made? Thinking about Guyton’s strategy of embracing mistakes, have your students embrace a mistake in one of their works. How can that mistake become an important part of the work? How does it change the work?

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