William J. O'Brien
This volume will be the first monograph on the work of Chicago-based artist William J. O’Brien (b. 1975), produced to accompany his first large-scale, solo exhibition opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in January 2014. The show demonstrates the broad range of O’Brien’s work—from sculpture and ceramics to drawing, textiles, and painting—and his guiding interest in physicality and the handmade. The catalogue expands the dominant narratives around his practice, which generally focus on his ceramics, to more accurately reflect his diverse, prolific practice as a whole.
Texts by exhibition curator Naomi Beckwith and curator Trevor Smith place the artist’s work in the context of postmodern art history and examine his guiding interest in physicality and the handmade at a moment of digital profusion. Art critic Jason Foumberg contributes a creative text inspired by the artist’s working process. Foreword by Madeleine Grynsztejn.
Making a strong contextual case for O’Brien’s work that counters canonical themes of media-specificity and traditional art materials, the catalogue is as expansive as the breadth of O’Brien’s practice itself.
Published by MCA Chicago and Artbook / DAP, 2014, Swiss-bound paperback, 96 pages, 10 x 8 inches.