Sculptor and conceptual artist Tom Marioni was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1937. He studied art at the Cincinnati Art Academy, moved to San Francisco in 1959, and has lived there ever since. He painted murals in the army in Ulm, Germany in ’62. In the ’60s, in San Francisco, he worked as a graphic designer, performed in a nightclub drawing a nude model, and exhibited his sculpture. In 1970, Tom Marioni founded the Museum of Conceptual Art (MOCA) in San Francisco, as a space for site-specific art and actions by sculptors. It closed in 1984.
Marioni created his first sound work, One Second Sculpture, in 1969, and over the years has done many performance works in which the act of drawing produces sound. He has produced sound works for radio stations KPFA in Berkeley and the WDR in Cologne Germany. In 1997 he organized The Art Orchestra, and the group performed at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco that year.
In 1970, Marioni’s exhibition at the Oakland Museum titled The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art inaugurated the social art for which he is best known. He has re-created that work worldwide over the years, most recently in The Art of Participation (2008) at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Marioni has exhibited his drawings and sculpture internationally at museums and galleries since 1963, and is represented by Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco and the Margarete Roeder Gallery, New York. He has made prints at Crown Point Press in San Francisco since 1975. He had a drawing retrospective at the Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, California, in 1999, and in 2006 was given a survey show at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati Ohio. In 2009 he was included in The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia 1860-1989 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981 and three National Endowment for the Arts grants in the 1970s, and his work is in many public collections including those of the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Portland State University’s Art Department offers free public lectures every Monday night of the school year. The PSU MFA Monday Night Lecture Series is supported in part by PICA, Portland Center for Public Humanities, Wealth Underground Farm, Bear Deluxe Magazine, and Northwest Film Center. If you or your organization are interested in becoming a supporter of the lecture series please let us know.