Artist page 
Christopher Williams
Christopher Williams: Normative Models
kestnergesellschaft, Hanover

May 5–July 29, 2018

Christopher Williams: Normative Models continued the artist’s active investigation of conventions of pictorial production and presentation. Seven key photographs were displayed within a system of eleven freestanding wall works that intervened in the architecture of the exhibition space, underscoring Williams’s self-described interest in establishing a more "mobile" position as an artist, alternately acting as "camera operator, picture editor, exhibition designer, graphic designer." Curated by Christina Végh and Lea Altner, Normative Models marked the artist’s first solo exhibition in Hanover.

Deeply political and historical, Christopher Williams’s (b. 1956) photographs evoke a subtle shift in our perception by questioning the communication mechanisms and aesthetic conventions that influence our understanding of reality. Deploying a style of photography that references multiple sources and precedents, including the carefully composed and well-lit images of the 1920s New Objectivity movement, the photo-conceptualism that he encountered as a student at CalArts in the 1970s, and the advertisement industry, Williams creates layered works that critically, but also playfully, reveal the conditions of the medium in post-industrial society.

Williams, who is originally from Los Angeles, is currently professor of photography at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. The artist has presented a number of solo exhibitions under the title Christopher Williams. For Example: Dix-Huit Leçons Sur La Société Industrielle, versions of which have been shown in Germany at the Kunstverein Braunschweig (2005), the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (2010), and the Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen (2011). Williams’s work was first presented in Hanover as part of group exhibitions at the Sprengel Museum in the early 1990s.

The artist’s first major museum retrospective, Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness, traveled from The Art Institute of Chicago to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and London’s Whitechapel Gallery from 2014 to 2015. For The New York Times critic Roberta Smith, viewing the show in New York, the exhibition conveyed "the complexity of Mr. Williams’s achievement and of art making itself with a wondrous lucidity."

Image: Installation view, Christopher Williams: Normative Models, kestnergesellschaft, Hanover, 2018. Photo by Raimund Zakowski.

Jump into the future – Art from the 90’s and 2000’s. The Borgmann Donation
The Stedlijk Museum, Amsterdam
Christopher Williams
Angola to Vietnam*, 1989 (1989)

November 26, 2017–March 4, 2018

Four works—Supplement* 1990 (1989—a portfolio containing eight works), Angola to Vietnam*, 1989 (1989), Figure I-III, Accretions (1992), and Brasil, 1989 (1988)—as well as two catalogues by Christopher Williams were included in the exhibition Jump into the future – Art from the 90’s and 2000’s. The Borgmann Donation at the Stedelijk Museum. The exhibition was a group presentation of works dating from the 1990s and early 2000s from the collection of Thomas Borgmann. The exhibition’s title aimed to reflect Borgmann's prescience in acquiring works by a new generation of artists.

Jump into the future followed Borgmann's donation to the Stedelijk of more than 600 works in 2016, which also included work by fellow gallery artists Isa Genzken and Wolfgang Tillmans. "I have closely followed the Stedelijk ever since my first visit in the 1960s," Borgmann, who is German, said in a statement following the announcement of the donation, "This museum felt like a natural home for these works." Williams's Angola to Vietnam (1989) is highlighted in news of the donation published in Artnet.

la > x
FAHRBEREITSCHAFT, Haubrok Foundation, Berlin

September 15–December 2, 2017

Works by Christopher Williams featured in la > x, an exhibition and film festival at the Haubrok Foundation's FAHRBEREITSCHAFT project space to mark the 50th anniversary of the city partnership between Berlin and Los Angeles.

The exhibition included ephemera such as invitations, texts, publications, and posters pertaining to Williams's work.

You Are Looking at Something That Never Occurred
Group exhibition at the Zabludowicz Collection in London
Christopher Williams
Model: 1964 Renault
Dauphine-Four (Car#1)
, 2000

March 30–July 9, 2017

Three works were included in You Are Looking at Something That Never Occurred, a group exhibition exploring how artists have used the camera to blur boundaries between past and present, fact and fiction. The exhibition also featured works by fellow gallery artists Thomas Ruff and Wolfgang Tillmans.

The title of the exhibition was taken from a conversation between the artists Jeff Wall and Lucas Blalock in which they argue for art that is experimental and mysterious. Drawn exclusively from the Zabludowicz Collection, the works in the exhibition spanned 1977 to the present day.

You Are Looking at Something That Never Occurred was accompanied by a fully illustrated publication with texts by Paul Luckraft and David Campany and a round-table discussion moderated by Chris Wiley featuring Lucas Blalock, Sara Cwynar, and Erin Shirreff. Published by the Zabludowicz Collection

Read more: reviews of the exhibition in Elephant Magazine, Wallpaper, and Time Out London, which gave it four stars.


Christopher Williams. Supplements, Models, Prototypes
Solo exhibition as part of the Visiting Artist program at ETH Zurich
Christopher Williams
Installation view of Christopher Williams. Supplements, Models, Prototypes at ETH Zurich (2017)

March 1–June 12, 2017

Christopher Williams. Supplements, Models, Prototypes presented recent work by the artist, who is the first participant in the new Visiting Artist program at ETH Zurich University's Department of Architecture.                     

Supplements, Models, Prototypes was the first exhibition to focus exclusively on exhibition walls, which are a central element of Williams's work. The exhibition presented a group of five walls drawn from prior exhibitions including Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness, the artist's first major museum survey which travelled from The Art Institute of Chicago to The Museum of Modern Art in New York and London's Whitechapel Gallery in 2014-2015.

Williams often intervenes with the architecture of his exhibition spaces. His first installation of a temporary wall was for his 1991 solo exhibition at Galerie Max Hetzler in Cologne, where he had a new wall built directly in front of an existing one.

Stage Play
The artist's first theater production presented at Miller's Theatre Zurich
Christopher Williams
Stage Play poster

May 22–24, 2017

The shop window occupies its own genre in photography, from Eugène Atget to Zoe Leonard. In Williams's new theater production Stage Play, the shop window and the storefront are the primary characters. Set in the streets of postwar Düsseldorf, this tense drama deals with the accumulation of contingent material suggestive of the quiet persistence of war.

This was the last in a series of shows by Williams since January 2017 that have engaged different aspects of his work, including collage, architecture, photography, publications, sculpture, and now theater.

Stage Play, Williams's first theater production, was created in dialogue with the artist's concurrent exhibition at gta exhibitions, ETH Zurich.

Christopher Williams: Models, Open Letters, Prototypes, Supplements
La Triennale di Milano
Christopher Williams
Fig. 8: Pulling the film cutter
Exakta Varex IIa
35 mm film SLR camera
Manufactured by Ihagee Kamerawerk Steenbergen & Co,
Dresden, German Democratic Republic?Body serial no.
979625 (Production period: 1960 - 1963)
Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar
50mm f/2.8 lens
Manufactured by VEB Carl Zeiss Jena, Jena, German
Democratic Republic Serial no. 8034351 (Production period: 1967 - 1970)
Model: Christoph Boland
Studio Thomas Borho, Oberkasseler Str. 39, Düsseldorf,
June 22nd, 2012
, 2012
Inkjet print on cotton rag paper
20 x 24 inches (50.8 x 61 cm)

April 28–June 25, 2017

Christopher Williams:  Models, Open Letters, Prototypes, Supplements presented the artist's work as part of La Triennale di Milano. The exhibition featured photographs combined with staging elements that were used in his recent exhibitions, and explored how these are interconnected within his practice.

Williams's critically-acclaimed 2014-2015 retrospective, The Production Line of Happiness, was exhibited at The Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Whitechapel Gallery in London.

Recent publications include Christopher Williams: Printed in Germany, and Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness.


The Absent Museum
Group exhibition at WIELS Contemporary Art Center, Brussels
Christopher Williams
Bergische Bauernscheune, Junkersholz 
Leichlingen, September 29, 2009
, 2010
Archival pigment print on cotton rag paper
17 1/4 x 22 inches (43.8 x 55.9 cm)

April 20–August 13, 2017

The Absent Museum looked back over the history of WIELS and towards its future development in honor of the art center's 10th anniversary. Included were works by gallery artists Francis Alÿs, Marlene Dumas, Isa Genzken, Oscar Murillo, Wolfgang Tillmans, Luc Tuymans, and Christopher Williams.

Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness
The artist’s first major museum survey spanned 35 years of his practice
Christopher Williams
Standardpose [Standard Pose]
1,0 Zwerg-Brabanter, silber, Düsseldorf 2013 (Vera Spix, Elsdorf)
Ring number: EE-D13 13-901, green
Studio Rhein Verlag, Düsseldorf
November 21, 2013
, 2014

The Production Line of Happiness, the major survey of work by Christopher Williams, travelled from The Art Institute of Chicago to The Museum of Modern Art in New York and London's Whitechapel Gallery in 2014 – 2015.

The exhibition’s title is borrowed from a 1967 documentary by French director Jean-Luc Godard, in which an amateur filmmaker describes the process of editing his films of the Swiss countryside as "the production line of happiness." In Williams's work, "production" applies not only to the creation of images, but also to how images produce the experiences and objects that are consumed as part of a materialist society. As he explained in an interview with dis magazine during the MoMA exhibition, "An idea that is very interesting to me right now is to adopt a model and stay as closely as possible to that model  . . . to inhabit a way of seeing."

In William’s critique, the visual conventions that surround us are co-opted, and often undercut with a vague sense of humor or nostalgia. The Production Line of Happiness included photographs of a bouquet of flowers, a stack of unwrapped Ritter Sport chocolate bars, a dishwasher, dewy red apples, and a model wearing a glib smile and a towel as if fresh from the shower. In the last of these, a Kodak color chart appears on the left of the image as if to expose its workings. In her review for The New York Times, Roberta Smith wrote that the exhibition "conveys the complexity of Mr. Williams's achievement and of art making itself with a wondrous lucidity."

The exhibition was accompanied by two conceptual publications created in collaboration with the artist. The first, entitled The Production Line of Happiness, is equal parts artist's book and exhibition publication, and includes texts by the curators Mark Godfrey, Roxana Marcoci, and Matthew S. Witkovsky. The second, Printed in Germany, is an artist's book extending Williams's ideas into published form. Williams was the first artist to receive the Photography Catalogue of the Year, presented by the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards, for these publications.

The Production Line of Happiness and Printed in Germany
Artist publications accompanying Williams’s first major museum survey
Christopher Williams
The Production Line of Happiness

In 2014, Christopher Williams collaborated on the production of publications in conjunction with his first major museum survey, The Production Line of Happiness. This critically acclaimed exhibition traveled from The Art Institute of Chicago to The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Whitechapel Gallery in London in 2014 – 2015.

Entitled The Production Line of Happiness, the first volume is equal parts artist's book and exhibition publication. Made in cooperation with the museums, the book features texts by the curators Mark Godfrey, Roxana Marcoci, and Matthew S. Witkovsky exploring Williams's engagement with his artistic peers and predecessors, with cinema, and with models of display and publicity in the art world. Also included is the transcript of a talk Williams delivered on the work of John Chamberlain. These more conventional contributions are "interrupted" by additional historical and contemporary materials which were selected by Williams himself and are sometimes presented in facsimile form. An exhibition history, bibliography, and illustrated list of works complete the publication, which has been produced in three colors—yellow, red, and green. Co-published by the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Modern Art, and Whitechapel Gallery

Following the exhibition publication which relies more heavily on text than image, Printed in Germany is an artist's book conceived as a stand-alone visual object that extends Williams's conceptual and aesthetic ideas into book form. The publication reproduces a selection of Williams's photographs and features striking graphic design, with no essay, captions, or even a title page. Like The Production Line of Happiness, Printed in Germany has been produced in yellow, red, and green versions. Published by Walther König, Cologne

Williams was the first artist to receive the Photography Catalogue of the Year, presented by the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards, for The Production Line of Happiness and Printed in Germany.

David Zwirner is pleased to present To do as one would, a group exhibition organized by gallery staff members Mary Mitsch, Martha Moldovan, and Poppy Pulitzer on view at the 519 West 19th Street space in New York.


To do as one would borrows its title from a statement on the principles of utility by British philosopher John Stuart Mill in his foundational text Utilitarianism (1863). The exhibition will present a group of artists who employ materials and imagery often associated with industrial production, construction sites, corporate environments, or commercial endeavors. Cement, office chairs, light bulbs, wire, cloth–objects that are typically the base of economic and governmental enterprises–are repurposed as art and, in turn, shed of their intended use-value.


Read more


For more information about available works contact


The history of photography as art in the 20th century is the history of the illustrated press or the photo book, and no one stands as a clearer example of this than Walker Evans, who embraced the roles of photographer, editor, graphic designer, typographer, and copy writer. In his books, but especially his magazine work, no one element took dominance over the others. In fact, he used each element as a device to open up rather than reduce the possibilities of the entire network. Evans possessed an acute sense of context and many times used his position within a publication to criticize the ideology of its support structure. Making the jump to the context of exhibition and gallery display, it's of course easy to think of the photographic practitioner extending their role to that of the curator, exhibition designer, etc.


Two things should be noted: Evans was criticized for the physical distance between his photographs and his texts, and it is well known that he locked himself in The Museum of Modern Art to arrange his own pictures, sometimes wheatpasting them to the walls so that they could not be moved.


Read more


For more information about available works contact


The gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of photographs by Los Angeles artist Christopher Williams. This will be the artist's second solo exhibition in the gallery.


The exhibition will be composed of both early and more recent photographs, and offers a rare presentation of the complete series of Angola to Vietnam*, completed in 1989 as well as a selection of works from For Example: Die Welt ist schön, an ongoing series started in 1993.


Read more


Opening on Friday October 19, the gallery will host an exhibition entitled "I ♥ NY" to benefit the victims of the families of the recent World Trade Center disaster. David Zwirner asked all the artists who the gallery represents to donate one or more works to this exhibition, all proceeds of which will go directly to the Robin Hood Relief Fund. These individual works can be viewed on the following websites: and on


Many members of the art community have responded to the idea of this benefit exhibition, and the initiative has now culminated in a citywide benefit in which many artists and over 130 galleries will participate. This coordinated benefit activity is called "I ♥ NY - Art Benefit", and will take place from October 26th through November 3rd in the over 130 participating galleries throughout the city. Participating galleries will either stage full "I ♥ NY - Art Benefit" exhibitions or, if their main space is not available, exhibit works for the benefit in viewing rooms or office spaces. All pertinent information on participating galleries and artists can be found on the official website of "I ♥ NY - Art Benefit": As with the exhibition at David Zwirner, 100% of the funds raised by the participating galleries will benefit the Robin Hood Relief Fund.


Read more


There are times when the great outdoors shrinks phenomenologically to the scale of a prison, and times when the indoors expands to the scale of the universe.
–Robert Smithson. "The Spiral Jetty"


On Saturday, December 13th, the gallery will open with a group exhibition of slide, film, and video projections. Places that are Elsewhere concentrates the viewer's attention on individual projection works that expand the physical space of the gallery and fill it with images of a distant and vastly shrunken image of the world outside. The exhibition is centered around a slide projection from 1979 by Peter Campus and the 1971 film Swamp by Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt (shown as a video in this exhibition). These artists have exerted a profound influence over succeeding generations and thus, the exhibition will bring together these works, as well as pieces by younger artists.


Read more


Opening on Friday January 31, the gallery will present an exhibition of photography, curated by the German collector Wilhelm Schürmann. Bringing together various kinds of photography, this exhibition entitled "Someone else with my fingerprints" will feature 150 photographs from the last 70 years.


Centered around the theme of influence, identity and transfer of identity, this exhibition does not distinguish between press photographs, publicity photos for films, fashion photography, science photography, documentation photography, etc. Since the history of photography consists mainly of photographs that were never intended to exist in an art context, the question that this exhibition introduces is: which levels of meaning and perception occur, when photographs from various sources such as these, enter the estethically charged domain of art? Which levels of meaning and perception occur when these photographs are taken out of their traditional context and placed in an often spontaneous and seemingly arbitrary combination? In this process, an image known as a photographic readymade can become a narrative document.


Read more


Printed in Germany 2014 Published by Buchhandlung Walther König GmbH & Co. KG Ehrenstr. 4, D-50672 Köln 368 pages (4 pages cover, 8 pages dustcover, 16 pages supplement, 128 color images)

8 1/4 × 10 5/8 inches, spine width: 1 1/4 inch Offset print, Euroscale (CMYK) 3 editions: yellow, red, green Paper stock: cover: Munken Lynx 400 g/qm, dustcover: Papyrus Rainbow Color 160 g/qm, colored stock: Papyrus Rainbow Color 120 g/qm, chapter pages: Papyrus Rainbow Color 230 g/qm, image pages: Scheufelen BVS (white, matte) 170 g/qm, supplement: Papyrus Rainbow Color 160 g/qm and Scheufelen BVS (white, matte) 170 g/qm Graphic Design: Petra Hollenbach Lithography: Bernd Montag Printed by Artnetworx, Hanover ISBN Yellow: 978-3-86335-600-2 Red: 978-3-86335-601-9 Green: 978-3-86335-602-6
Images format 
Images display 
Grey display
Front title 

Printed in Germany 2014 Published by Buchhandlung Walther König GmbH & Co. KG Ehrenstr. 4, D-50672 Köln 368 pages (4 pages cover, 8 pages dustcover, 16 pages supplement, 128 color images)



Subscribe to RSS - Christopher Williams