For more than two decades, Steve Wolfe (1955–2016) created sculptures and drawings of astounding craft and visual presence. Wolfe re-created worn books and used records, primarily from the 1960s and 1970s, that influenced his own personal and artistic sensibilities. Working in the tradition of trompe l'oeil, Wolfe created pieces that quite literally "fool the eye" on first inspection. Using a variety of materials and processes, including oil, acrylic, screen printing, lithography, modeling paste, canvas, wood and aluminum, Wolfe sculpted and painted precise and exacting three-dimensional replicas of books and records that possess a personal significance. Iconic titles include Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dostoyevsky's Notes From Underground, Alfred Barr's Cubism and Abstract Art and The Beatles' Revolver. These tattered books and worn LPs are tangible manifestations of a fertile moment in American intellectual history. Wolfe's faithful reconstructions evoke an unexpected play between humble self-effacement and culture's powerful capacity to have impact on one's existence.
Steve Wolfe's work has been collected by numerous prominent public and private collections, including The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Menil Collection, Houston, TX; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; The Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA. In 2009 he was the subject of a one-person exhibition which originated at the Whitney Museum of American Art and traveled to the Menil Collection and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.