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William J. O’Brien

1431 W. Fry St. Apt. Rear • Chicago, IL • 60642 • 646.271.0844










New York, Marianne Boesky Gallery, Safety Blankets. Fetish Objects. (Online), March 26 – April 5, 2020



Chicago, Shane Campbell Gallery, transitional objects, August 3 – 31, 2019


Atlanta, GA, Atlanta Contemporary, Shame Spiral, May 9 – August 4, 2019



Madison, WI, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Reliquary, August 18 – November 11, 2018



Chicago, Shane Campbell Gallery, Reliquary, December 17, 2017 – February 4, 2018


New York, Marianne Boesky Gallery, Sorrowful Mysteries, January 5 – February 4, 2017


Louisville, KY, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Oscillates Wildly, January 21, – April 9, 2017



Chicago, IL, Shane Campbell Gallery, William J. O’Brien, December 10, 2015 – January 2, 2016


Ferndale, MI, Susanne Hilberry Gallery, William J. O’Brien, March 21 – May 9, 2015



Tokyo, Taka Ishi Gallery, William J. O’Brien: Water Sounds, April 26 – May 17, 2014


Chicago, Shane Campbell Gallery, Six Circles : Four Squares, March 15 – April 26, 2014


Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, curated by Naomi Beckwith, accompanying monograph, January 25 – May 4, 2014


Paris, Almine Rech GalleryThe Lovers, January 9th – February 15, 2014



New York, Marianne Boesky Gallery, Wet ‘N Wild, February 23 – March 23, 2013



Overland Park, KS, The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, May 25 – September 2, 2012



Cleveland, Ohio, SHAHEEN Modern and Contemporary Art, Works on Paper, September 24 – November 4, 2011


Chicago, The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago, May 2011



Oak Park, IL, Shane Campbell Gallery, November 14, 2010 – January 16, 2011



New York, Marianne Boesky Gallery, November 20, 2009 – January 10, 2010


Detroit, Susanne Hilberry Gallery, September 12 – October 31, 2009



Miami, World Class Boxing, Death Rattle, February – April 2008



Chicago, Shane Campbell Gallery, the axis mundi, September 1 – September 29, 2007



Miami, Locust Projects, When Your Heart Is on Fire, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, May 6 – June 11, 2006



Miami, Ingalls and Associates, A Fairy Tale, curated by Jose Diaz and Nina Arias, October 15 – November 19, 2005


Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art 12 x 12, New Artists, New Work, October 8 –30, 2005







Concord, NH, Outer Space, Matthew Fischer & William J. O’Brien, TBA 2023


Chicago, DePaul Art Museum, Life Cycles, September 7, 2023 – February 11, 2024


Los Angeles, Leon Benrimon Gallery, The Subject is Ceramic, April 29 – May 26, 2023


New York, Ki Smith Gallery, Clayjà Vu, April 22- May 21, 2023


Chicago, Goldfinch Gallery, Lilac, Moonbeam, and Heavenly Blue, January 14 – Februrary 25, 2023



New York, Alison Bradley Projects, FIRE, November 27 – January 7, 2023


Chicago, Hyde Park Art Center, Regarding the Missing Objects, curated by Ruslana Lichtzier, November 13, 2022 – February 29, 2023


Chicago, SAIC Galleries, SAIC Sabbatical Triennial, Curated by Staci Boris, September 9 – December 3, 2022

Chicago, SAIC Wellness Center, Connect the Dots, March 31 – April 28

Richmond, IN, Indiana University East, Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, Curated by Carrie Longley, September 14 – TBA

Dubuque, IA, Dubuque Museum of Art, Craft Invitational, Curated by Staci Gage Peterson, June 18 – October 2

Reno, NV, Holland Project Galleries, Holding Pattern, Curated by Nick Larsen March 8  – April 29



Tokyo, Japan, Taka Ishii Gallery, YAKIMONO, October 12 – November 7, 2021


Lincoln, MA, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, The Protectors, July 10, 2021 – TBA


New York, Marianne Boesky Gallery, A Thought Sublime, June 17 – August 6, 2021

New York, R & Company, Objects USA 2020, Curated by James Zemaitis, Glenn Adamson, Evan Snyderman and Abby Bangser, with accompanying monograph, February 16 – September 16, 2021


Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Long Dream, November 7, 2020 – January 17, 2021


University Park, PA, Hub-Robeson Galleries, Human Expectations II, October 21, 2020 – June 20, 2021


New York, Fort Makers, The Planter Show, September 25 – November 19, 2020


Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago, February 29 – September 13, 2020


Chicago, Hans Gallery, Collage, September 19 – October 24, 2020.



Chicago, Chicago Park District, Sculpture in the Parks, October 31, 2019 – October 10, 2021


Tokyo, Japan, Taka Ishii Gallery, Survived!, June 25 – July 27, 2019


Milwaukee, WI, Sculpture Milwaukee, June 7 – October 27, 2019



Alfred, NY, Fosdick-Nelson Gallery at Alfred University, Queering Space, February 2 – March 31, 2018


New York, Museum of Arts and Design, The Burke Prize 2018, October 3, 2018 – March 17, 2019



Tokyo, Japan, Misako & Rosen, Horror Vacui, or The Annihilation of Space, February 19 – March 12, 2017.



Loiusville, KY, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Thread Lines, April 29, 2016 – August 6, 2017


Miami, Art Basel Miami Beach, Public, Curated by Nicholas Baume, December 1 – December 4, 2016


Berlin, Germany, Peres Projects, Wild Style: Exhibition of Figurative Art, June 25 – August 6, 2016


DeKalb, IL, Northern Illinois University, Pattern and Process, curated by Nina Rizzo and Steven Ciampaglia, January 22 – March 3, 2016



Ferndale, MI, Susan Hilberry Gallery, THIRTY NINE YEARS / Memorial for Susan Feld Hilberry, December 12, 2015 – March 12, 2016


Brooklyn, NY, Bannerette Gallery, I Can’t Wait To Get Off Work., curated by Austin Eddy, December 19, 2015 – January 24, 2015


Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Surrealism: The Conjured Life, November 21, 2015 – June 5, 2016


Los Angeles, Cherry and Martin, Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better, August 22 – September 19, 2015


Sun Valley, ID, Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Defying Gravity: Interventions in Clay, July 10 – Sept 18, 2015


New York, Invisible Exports, SOFT CORE, June 19 – July 25, 2015


London, Alison Jacques Gallery, Organic Sculpture, March 27 – May 23, 2015



New York , Leila Heller, KILN, November 12 – December 20, 2014


Brooklyn, NY, U.S. Blues, October 4 – November 9, 2014


Greensboro, NC, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Art on Paper 2014: The 43rd Exhibition, September 27 – December 14, 2014


Chicago, Shane Campbell Gallery, New Image Painting, August 23 – October 4, 2014


Brussels, Almine Rech Gallery, Platform, curated by Nicolas Trembley, June 5 – July 26, 2014


New York, The Drawing Center, Thread Lines, September 18 – December 14, 2014



New York, Loretta Howard Gallery, “DNA: Strands of Abstraction, curated by Paul Sinclaire, June 20- August 2, 2013



Kenosha, WI, The H.F. Johnson Gallery of Art at Carthage College, All Good Things Become Wild and Free, curated by Danny Orendorff, September 11 – November 17, 2012


Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Phantom Limb: Approaches to Painting Today, May 5 – October 21, 2012


Los Angeles, Acme, Someone Puts a Pineapple Together, January 7 – February 4, 2012



Milwaukee, WI, The Green Gallery, Painted, curated by Tyson Reeder, December 10, 2011- January 15,


Santurce, Puerto Rico, Espacio 1414, Painting…Expanded, November 4, 2011- July 1, 2012


Cleveland, OH, SHAHEEN Modern and Contemporary Art, Works on Paper, September 24 – November 4, 2011


New York, Lisa Cooley Gallery, Josh Faught and William J. O’Brien, May 8 – June 19, 2011


Rotterdam, Witte de With, January – April, 2011



Miami, David Castillo Gallery, The Maginot Line, December 1, 2010 – January 29, 2011


Chicago, Loyola University Museum of Art, New Icon, June 5 – August 1, 2010


Miami, World Class Boxing space of the Debra and Dennis Scholl Collection, Mystic Visage, June 12 – July 31, 2010, curated by Desiree Cronk


Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, At Home/Not at Home: Works from the Collection of Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg, June 26 – December 19, 2010


New York, Gallery MC, L’AUR’AMARA, Curated by Bustos Domenech, December 2 – 3, 2010, Travels to


Paris, Générale en Manufacture, April 2011; Milan, Centro Ricerche Accademia di Brera ex Chiesa di S.Carpoforo (CRAB), June – July 2011



New York, Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery, In Stitches, curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody, November 12 – December 19, 2009


Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Selected Works from the MCA Collection, May 12 – September 20, 2009


Santa Barbara, California, Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, An Expanded Field of Possibilities, February 28 – May 24, 2009



Aspen, CO, Aspen Art Museum, Now You See It, December 19, 2008 – February 1, 2009


New York, Andrea Rosen Gallery, Base:Object, October 25 – December 6, 2008


Vienna, Galerie Krinzinger, Andy Coolquitt, Frank Haines, William J. O’Brien


New York, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, Jesuvian Process, January 19 – February 16, 2008



New York, Marianne Boesky Gallery, Project Space, William O’Brien / Anthony Pearson, November 17 – December 8, 2007


New York, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Makers And Modelers, September 8 – October 13, 2007


Santa Barbara, California, Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Sonotube ® Forms: Contemporary Art and Transport, July 14 – August 26, 2007


Chicago, Shane Campbell Gallery, Jesse Chapman, Aliza Nisenbaum, William J. O’Brien, July 7 – August 4, 2007


Los Angeles, Blum & Poe, So Wrong, I’m Right, June 30 – August 25, 2007


Detroit, Museum of Contemporary Art, Stuff: International Contemporary Art from the Collection of Burt Aaron, May 12 – July 29, 2007



Chicago, Shane Campbell Gallery, Modern Primitivism, September 16 – November 4, 2006


Chicago, Western Exhibitions, Josh Mannis, Eric Lebofsky, William J. O’Brien, June 10 – July 15, 2006


Chicago, The James Hotel, MIXART, 2006


Chicago, Open End Gallery, Pathetisize, curated by Alex May, 2006


Mexico City, Nina Menocal Projects, Champagne, curated by Jose Diaz, 2006


New York, Participant Inc., Cluster, curated by Katie Holten, February 10 – 12



New York, Margaret Thatcher Projects, Certain People I Know


Miami, Nina Menocal Projects for Art Basel, We Created a Monster, curated by Frederick Janka


Miami, The Living Room for Art Basel, CoDependent, curated by Gean Moreno


Chicago, Booster and Seven, Winter Group Show, curated by Steph Pavone


Austin, The Church of the Friendly Ghost, Eagle Hand’s Moon and The Orange Savior


Chicago, Contemporary Art Workshop, Summer Group Show, curated by Steph Pavone


Chicago, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Bilingual, curated by Tracy Taylor


Chicago, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Drawn Out, curated by Tracy Taylor


Chicago, Diamonds on Archer, In Print2


Chicago, Around the Coyote Gallery, Macerate, curated by Currency Exchange


Chicago, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition, Gallery 2


Chicago, Three-Walls Gallery, Stygine’s Creek, Video Screening Curated by Ruba Katrib


Mexico City, Nina Menocal Gallery,Take My Hand, Curated by Ruba Katrib (Traveling)


Chicago, Gallery 1926, Appropriating Feminist Strategies


Chicago, Three-Walls Gallery, Take My Hand, Curated by Ruba Katrib



New York, Artist Space, Night of 1,000 Drawings


Chicago, Open End Gallery, Click Formation


Chicago, Symbology Bathroom, The Pilot Conference


Portland, Jupiter Hotel, The Fresh-Up Club, The Affair


Memphis, Marshall Arts @ Delta Axis, Identity Crisis


Miami, Objex Artspace, Art Poster Show


Chicago, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, G2 Group Show


Miami, Rocket Projects, Abracadabra


Chicago, Higher Gallery, 3 on 3, Straight Artists Curate 3 Gay Artists


Chicago, 1/Quarterly Space, Eric Lebofsky, Josh Mannis, William O’Brien


Chicago, The Stray Show, Art Mule


Chicago, Modest Contemporary Art Projects, Small Victories



New York, Deitch Projects, Participant, Inc., La Superrette


Glasgow, Glasgow School of Art, 100% Cotton


Chicago, Shaff Gallery, White Haute



New York, Greenwich House Pottery, Annual Members Show


Cleveland, Benefit Invitation Group Show, SPACES Gallery, Out and About



Chicago, Crown Center Gallery, Loyola University Chicago, Undergraduate Thesis Show







Vizcarrondo-Laboy, Angelik. “The Clayjá Vu of Sasha Feldman and William J. O’Brien,” Clayjá Vu, Ki Smith Gallery, 2023.



Adamson, Glenn. Objects USA: 2020, The Monacelli Press, 2020.



Calobrisi, Amanda Joy. “William J. O’Brien, “Transitional Objects” at Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago,” ADF Webmagazine (August 20, 2019) [online]


Editorial, Burnaway. “Close Look: William J. O’Brien at Atlanta Contemporary,” Burnaway (August 3, 2019) [online]


McIntosh, Monique. “Meet a Chicago creative who creates & deconstructs art,” Luxe Magazine, July 12, 2019


Scholl, Dennis.  “’Inside my studio’ with William J. O’Brien,” Cultured Magazine, (June 18, 2018) [online]



Goldstein, Caroline. “William J. O’Brien’s Enchanted Circus Installation Is Packed Full of Dizzying Detail,” Artnet News, (January 18, 2018) [online]



Lilley, Clare. Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramic in Contemporary Art, Phaidon, 2017.


Keel, Eli. “KMAC’s ‘Thread Lines’ exhibit is a conversation between mediums,” Insider Louisville (May 28, 2017) [online]


Yanoviak, Eileen. “William O’Brien at KMAC in Louisville,” Burnaway (March 20, 2017) [online]


Keel, Eli. “The evocative and varied works of William J. O’Brien are now at KMAC,” Insider Louisville (January 29, 2017) [online]


Kramer, Elizabeth. “KMAC show with work by upcoming Chicago artist,” Courier-Journal (January 12, 2017) [online]



Steadman, Ryan. “5 Must-See Booths at the Art Los Angeles Contemporary Fair,” Observer  (January 25, 2015) [online]



Brooks, Katherine. “13 Artists You Should Fall In Love With This Spring,” Huffington Post (March 12, 2015)


Bryant, Eric. “25 Most Collectible Midcareer Artists,” Blouin Artinfo  (September 1, 2015)


Editorial, Artsy. “11 Booths You Need to See Before The Armory Show Closes,” Artsy, March 6, 2015


Girgenti, Maria. “Portrait of the Artist: William J. O’Brien,” Newcity Art  (December 18, 2015) [online]


Guiducci, Mark. “How To See the Armory Show in One Hour Flat,” Vogue,  March 5, 2015


“AD Gets a First Look at the 17th Annual Armory Show,” Architectual Digest,  March 2015


Editorial, Artsy. “ At The Armory Show, a Fresh-Faced Vernissage with Accessible Price Points,” Artsy, March 5, 2015


Boucher, Brian. “What’s Really Cool at the Armory Show 2015? Brian Boucher Points it Out,” Artnet News,  March 6, 2015


Jovanovic, Rozalia. “Rozalia Jovanovic’s Top 10 Booths at the Armory Show 2015,” Artnet News, March 6, 2015


Kirsch, Corinna, “Dealers Report: The 2015 Armory Show is Legit Awesome,” Art F City, March 6, 2015


Boucher, Brian. “The 10 Best Contemporary Artworks at the 2015 Armory Show,” Artnet News” March 5, 2015


Kazakina, Katya. “No Art Fair Lull as One Gallery Sells $1 Million in Three Hours,” Bloomberg,March 5, 2015


“Preview Art Basel Miami Beach: 10 Works By Artists Who Have Altered the Way We Perceive Our World and Ourselves,” Art Dealers Association of America  (November 2015) [online]



Getsky, David J. William J. O’Brien Ceramic Heads, Woods Kusaka Studios, 2014.


Beckwith, Naomi. William J. O’Brien. ARTBOOK/D.A.P. and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 2014.


Milburn, Robert. “Art Advisors: Are They Worth It?,” Barron’s , November 7, 2014


Halperin, Julia. “Perfectly unfashionable to be fashionable again,” The Art Newspaper, June 18, 2014


Dluzen, Robin and James, Damien. “We Went To Chicago: The Horrors of Parenthood, The Strength of Drawings,” ArtFCity, May 19, 2014


Myers, Terry R. “William J. O’Brien,” The Brooklyn Rail, April 2, 2014


Waxman, Lori, “Compare and Contrast: Ceramics at the MCA”, Chicago Tribune, February 7, 2014


Lacy, Jamilee Polson. “The Maker: William J. O’Brien”, Art in America, January 24, 2014


Malooley, Jake. “10 best things to do this week: January 20 -26, 2014”, Time Out Chicago, January 20, 2014


Eichinger, Elle, “Chicago’s William J. O’Brien Shows Multimedia Pieces at the MCA”, Michigan Avenue Magazine, January 15, 2014


Léa Chauvel-Lévy, “William J. O’Brien, The Lovers – Galerie Almine Rech”, Slash-Paris, January 15, 2014


Bryant, Eric. “Artist William J. O’Brien on His Brilliant, Multifaceted Career, Artspace, January 15, 2014


Eler, Alicia, “10 Chicago Art Exhibitions to See This Winter”, Hyperallergic, January 14, 2014


Robin Cembalest, “12 Trends Defining This Season’s Art-Museum Shows”, ArtNews, January 9, 2014


Mercurio, Frank, “William J. O’Brien at the MCA”, Chicago Gallery News, January 2014


Grabner, Michelle. “William J. O’Brien, Curated by Naomi Beckwith – Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago”, ArtForum, January 2014


Mathis, Meg, “The Big Picture”, Michigan Avenue Magazine, January 2014


Yood, James, “William J. O’Brien Transforms Artisanal Crafts into Abstract Art”, Architectural Digest, January 2014



“Things We Like – Hitlist”, Painters, May 2013, p. 39.



Tucker, Elizabeth, William J. O’Brien Artforum, May 2011, p. 138



At Home/Not at Home: Works from the Collection of Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg, curated by Matthew Higgs, New York: CCS Bard Hessel Museum, June 26 – December 19, 2010.


Rondeau, James. Emerging Artists, Frieze, January 2010.



Smith, Roberta. Make Room for Video Performance and Paint, The New York Times, December 31, 2009


Trelles, Emma. New Acquisitions add vigorous life to MAM collection, Palm Beach Arts Paper, August 31,  2009



Vogel, Sabine B. Picks: Vienna; Andy Coolquitt, Frank Haines, William J. O’Brien at Krinzinger Projekte, Artforum. May, 2008



Yood, James. William J. O’Brien: Shane Campbell Gallery, Artforum XLVI, No.4, 2007, p. 360


Fry, Naomi. Critics’ Picks, Artforum, October 2, 2007.


Smith, Roberta. It’s Just Clay, but How About a Little Respect?, The New York Times, September 7, 2007.



Moreno, Gean. William J. O’Brien, Art Papers, March/April 2006.



Jason A. Heidemann. Out on the town…taking in queer culture, Time Out Chicago, October 20 – 27, 2005, p. 98.


Gay Broken Hearts. Genre Magazine, September Issue.


Girls, Boys, Pop Music. Teen Vogue, December/January Issue






Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Maryland Institute College of Art

University of Minnesota Department of Art and Art History

Penn State University Department of Art, Anderson Endowed Lecture Series

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Nerman Museum of Contempoary Art, Kansas City, MI

Art Expo Chicago, Artadia & SAIC Lecture Series

Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago

Northwestern University

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Department of Ceramics

Oxbow School of Art, Saugatauk, Michigan

Columbia College

Vermont Studio Center






Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship Recipient, 2020

Herp Alpert/Ucross Prize, 2019

Tiffany Foundation Award Recipient, 2012

Artadia: The Fund for Art & Dialogue, 2007 Chicago Finalist, and Grant Recipient

Vermont Studio Center, Full Fellowship Residency

Mellon Award, Loyola University Chicago






The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York

Miami Art Museum, Miami, Florida

The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio

Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan

The Saatchi Gallery, London, England

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois

Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, California

Pérez Art Museum, Miami, Florida

DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, Illinois

KMAC Museum, Louisville, Kentucky

Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annadale-on-Hudson, NY

deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA

The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, Iowa City, IA