The Unlikely Artist

An artist presentation

Brian Conley

"It's a highly improbable Joycean tale of how someone becomes an artist in response to circumstance, philosophical disappointment, ethical violation, and ultimately questioning ideas of violence and animality." - Brian Conley

Adding a footnote to a somewhat roiling and inspiring first season, artist Brian Conley gave an elaborate and entertaining four-hour presentation that took the audience from science through philosophy to why art, from his view, is the most potent and complex form of communication. Homemade lentil soup was served throughout the evening.

Brian Conley is an artist from New York currently living in San Francisco, where he is a professor in the graduate fine arts and sculpture programs of the California College of the Arts. He is founding co-editor with Sina Najafi of Cabinet Magazine, an international art-and-culture quarterly. From 2005 to 2008, he was Chair of the Graduate Fine Art Program at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and he currently serves as Educational and Curatorial Adviser to Sada (Echo) for Contemporary Iraqi Art.

From radio performance to sculptural, research-based, and collaborative installations, Conley's artistic practice operates across the divides between science, art, and politics. Drawing from an eclectic background that spans sculpture and performance, philosophy and behavioral science, Conley's work is centrally concerned with the roots of social violence, the origins of language, and the possibility of meaningful communication even across radical divides — for example, between human and animal, between human and machine.

Conley has exhibited internationally, including exhibitions at the Whitney Museum, ArtBasel, and MassMoCA, as well as producing commissioned works at the Wanas Foundation in Knislinge, Sweden, and the ArtPace Foundation for Contemporary Art in San Antonio, Texas.