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William J. O’Brien

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago with ARTBOOK | D.A.P.



Chicago-based artist William J. O'Brien (b. 1975) works in multiple media: drawing, painting, ceramic and metal sculpture, installation, and assemblage. His prolific output in these various media offers a visual profusion of color, pattern, and exuberant excess. This volume, part of the MCA Monograph series, accompanies the first major solo museum exhibition of O'Brien's work in the United States.

Naomi Beckwith, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator at the MCA, and contributing author Trevor Smith, Curator of the Present Tense at the Peabody Essex Museum, 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. Copublished by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago with ARTBOOK | D.A.P, the catalogue is as expansive as O'Brien's practice itself.

Table of Contents

14 Director’s Foreword
17 Acknowledgments
20 A World Created by Naomi Beckwith
40 In Lumpen Bits: The Digital Paradoxes of William J. O’Brien by Trevor Smith
49 The Goblin-Buddha Codex by Jason Foumberg
61 Plates
90 Biography and Selected Bibliography
93 Checklist
101 Contributors
102 Lenders and Sponsors