Tom Marioni

Digital Sound as Sculpture Material

Date 11/2/05

Affiliation Conceptual Artist/sculptor, SIA, San Francisco


Pioneering West Coast artist Tom Marioni will formulate a definition of conceptual art in the context of California schools of video art in the 1970's and describe how these approaches relate to painting and sculpture. Marioni will use DVD's to present sound works from 1976-1985 and describe their relation to performance and music, emphasizing how the physics underlying sound is produced from physical actions. Marioni will also outline tensions he's discovered between performance and theater and video art. Finally, Marioni will describe how he views digital sound as a sculptural material and his recent experience designing and organizing a website to present his work:


Sculptor and conceptual artist Tom Marioni was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, 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 '61 and '62. In the '60s, in San Francisco, he worked as a graphic designer, performed in a nightclub drawing a nude model, exhibited his sculpture, and in 1968 became curator of the Richmond Art Center. In 1970 Marioni founded the Museum of Conceptual Art (MOCA) in San Francisco, the first alternative art space in the U.S. The first show in MOCA was titled Sound Sculpture As. For Marioni that exhibition was the beginning of a series of sound works, radio shows on KPFA in Berkeley, and performances in Europe and Japan. Also in 1970 he made an exhibition in the Oakland Museum called The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art. He has re-created this work in many places worldwide over the years. In 1973 Marioni founded the MOCA Ensemble, a free jazz group that performed in the Edinburgh Festival. In 1997 he organized The Art Orchestra and the group performed at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco. From 1975-81 he edited VISION, a magazine/art journal. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981 and three NEA grants in the '70s. Marioni wrote Beer, Art and Philosophy, a memoir, in 2004, and in 2005 produced A Motion Picture, a video movie with eighteen San Francisco sculptors and painters. The movie will be premiered at the new de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park on November 18, 2005.

-- As of 11/2/05

Updated Bio

Author "Beer, Art and Philosophy (a memoir) 2003, Crown Point Press, San Francisco.

-- As of 1/5/07

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