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2005 M.F.A. Studio Art, Concentration: Fiber and Material Studies, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

1997 B.A. Studio Art, Concentration: Ceramics. Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL




August 2009 – Present

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL PROFESSOR OF ART, CHAIR Department of Ceramics

• Responsible for teaching undergraduate/graduate classes in the Department of Ceramics
Classes taught include: Non-Traditional Approaches to Clay, Getting Weird and Hilarious, Ceramic Sculpture, Advanced Ceramics, Ceramics Undergraduate Seminar, & Interdisciplinary Graduate Projects

• Mentor students on projects as per related to graduating BFA and MFA thesis exhibitions

• Traffic/management of ceramic studio (with assistance of studio manager, student workers) as per clay mixing, glazes, and kiln firing


Graduate Coordinator for the Ceramics department:

• Serve as liaison between graduate students, department chair, as well as graduate division chair

• Recruitment of visiting artists for the department (schedule, transportation, advertisement, visiting artist lecture, design of departmental posters, studio visits)

• Assist the chairperson with the arrangement of departmental events and meetings throughout the school year.

Examples include annual graduate slide lecture series, open studio night, critique week coordination, visiting artist lectures, departmental meetings and annual outings for graduate student population


August 2006 – August 2009

Chicago State University, Chicago, IL ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ART, Department of Design

• Responsible for teaching undergraduate classes in the department of Art and Design.
Classes taught include: Photoshop/Illustrator, Visual Communications I, Visual Communications II, Visual


Graphic Studio I, Visual Graphics Studio II, Visual Graphic Studio III

Assist the department and chairperson with administrative duties:
• Departmental curriculum revisions, NASAD certification preparation/evaluation
• Annual student portfolio reviews/assessments, undergraduate advising, annual student exhibition preparation
• Departmental equipment budget and maintenance,
• Liaison for outside recruitment for new students and visiting artists
• Lead and participated in committees for new faculty searches, internal department faculty
• Conducted classroom audits/evaluations for faculty as well as tenure promotion/review.
• Served as advisor for the student Art and Design Club
• Served on university committees pertaining to issues related to identity/image, recruitment, student newspaper, as well as annual faculty senate meetings.


August 2006 – August 2009

Westwood College, Chicago, IL ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ART, Department of Design

• Responsible for teaching undergraduate classes in the department of Art.
Classes taught: Advanced Web Design, Advanced Illustration, Portfolio Preparation, History of Graphic Design and Applied Typography




August 2003 – August 2008


• Art direction, creative concepting, and management of print to multi-media campaigns • Personal illustration services provided for package to print campaign
• Clients primarily included: Chicago Magazine, o2-Cool, Kaiser Permanente


November 1999 – August 2003


• Art Direction, creative concepting, and management of direct-marketing campaigns
• Concepting/implementation of self-promotion campaigns for CooperDirect Advertising
• Traffic management of client projects including proofing, pre-press production, and press run checks.
• Supervision/hiring of freelance designers/writers as per related to client projects
• Clients managed include: American Express, The San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle, The Economist,, MIT, Verizon,, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Columbia House, Pacific Bell, Ameritech, National Geographic, Reader’s Digest


September 1998- November 1999


• Design of all print materials in correlation for Cleveland Life, Ohio’s Largest African American Weekly Newspaper (Ads) page layout, cover design)
• Design of materials for in-house events and promotions including bus cards, billboards, tickets, media kits and other miscellaneous print materials


September 1998 -March 1999


• Instruction of two special education art classes that incorporated museum art education with studio instruction • Research, revised and implemented curriculum programs for the museum pertaining to Special Education
• Coordinated a series of large scale group art projects


February 1997 – September 1998


• Instruction of individual and collaborative art projects with disabled students
• Researched and received grant opportunities for projects
• Managed office projects ranging from ˆ“Whipper Snapper Nerd,” to the publicity manual for the center


September 1997 – January 1999


• Supervision of computer services staff for private and public clients
• Design and layout of brochures, invitations, and other miscellaneous projects.


Fall 1992 – Summer 1996

• Digitized graphics for the in-house production of technical books
• Design and layout for journals and books
• Assisted with the annual update of customer service databases
• Correspondence between publishers and authors pertaining to in-house publications







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 Gallery, The 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 2009

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




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



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, 2012

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

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, 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 1997

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





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, 2014Robin Cembalest, “12 Trends Defining This Season’s Art-Museum Shows”, ArtNews, January 9, 2014Mercurio, Frank, “William J. O’Brien at the MCA”, Chicago Gallery News, January 2014Grabner, 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. 2011

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