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What's It All Mean: William T. Wiley in Retrospect

October 2, 2009 – January 24, 2010

Museum: American Art Museum

Location: 3rd Floor, North Wing, Special Exhibitions Gallery

Enter the world of artist William T. Wiley (b. 1937), who has created a distinctive body of work during a 50-year career that addresses critical issues of our time. Art, politics, war, global warming, foolishness, ambition, hypocrisy, and irony are summoned by Wiley's fertile imagination and recorded in the personal vocabulary of symbols, puns, and images that fill his objects. His wit and sense of the absurd make his art accessible to all with multiple layers of meaning revealed through careful examination.

This retrospective, which features 88 works from the 1960s to the present, is the first full-scale look at Wiley's long career and explores important themes and ideas expressed in his work. His work ranges from traditional drawing, watercolor, acrylic painting, sculpture, and printmaking to performances, constructions of assorted materials, and, more recently, printed pins, tapestries, and a pinball machine. Many artworks in the exhibition are on public display for the first time, and the installation includes several of Wiley's avant-garde films of the 1970s, which are rarely screened.

Catalogue: $65 (cloth); $39.95 (paper)

See December 2009 Smithsonian magazine, p. 26

This exhibition will travel under the auspices of the museum.

 

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