Raised in Indiana, Texas, and Richland, Washington, Wiley moved to San Francisco to study at the California School of Fine Arts where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1960 and his Master of Fine Arts two years later.
His practice spans a broad range of media including drawing, painting, sculpture, film, performance, and pinball. At least some of Wiley"s work has been referred to as funk art In 1963, Wiley joined the faculty of the University of California Davis art department with Bay Area Funk Movement artists Robert Arneson and Roy DeForest.
During that time Wiley instructed students including Bruce Nauman and Deborah Butterfield.
According to Dan Graham, the literary, punning element of Nauman"s work came from Wiley. Wiley also acknowledges the effect Nauman had on his own work.
His first solo exhibition was held at the in 1960. In the late 1960s Wiley collaborated with the minimalist composer Steve Reich and introduced him to Bruce Nauman.
Wiley continued to build upon his growing stature as a major artist with works appearing in the Venice Biennial (1980) and Whitney Biennial (1983).
He also had major exhibitions at the (1981), M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco (1996), and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, District of Columbia (2005). In 2009, the Smithsonian American Art Museum presented a retrospective of Wiley"s career titled What"s lieutenant All Mean: Wiley in Retrospect, from October 2, 2009 through January 24, 2010. A review in the Wall Street Journal stated: "Mr.
Wiley"s work is unlike any other in recent art
He is less a contemporary artist than a national treasure." In 2010, the retrospective moved to the Berkeley Art Museum, from March 17 to July 18. The catalogue for the retrospective, "What"s lieutenant All Mean: Wiley in Retrospect", was co-published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and University of California Press.
Wiley also has works in the collections of the, the, the, New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington District of Columbia, the, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, District of Columbia, the, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among many others He is represented by Hosfelt Gallery in San Francisco and by Maxwell Davidson Gallery in New York City.
Quotations: "Mr. Wiley"s work is unlike any other in recent art He is less a contemporary artist than a national treasure." In 2010, the retrospective moved to the Berkeley Art Museum, from March 17 to July 18. The catalogue for the retrospective, "What"s lieutenant All Mean: William T. Wiley in Retrospect".
Married Dorothy Ann Wiley, September 8, 1959. Children: Ethan J., Zane J.