Tom Marioni was born in 1937 in Cincinnati, Ohio, attended the Cincinnati Art Academy, and in 1959 moved to San Francisco, where he still lives. His first sound work, One Second Sculpture, 1969, was celebrated in the 2005 Lyon Biennial as presaging the work of many artists today who use sound and duration as subjects. His first museum show was in 1970 at the Oakland Museum of California. Titled “The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art,” it was an early example of social art as a sculpture action. Over the years, Marioni was invited to repeat the work in various contexts around the world.
In 1970 Marioni founded the Museum of Conceptual Art (MOCA), which he described at the time as “a large-scale social work of art.” Until the museum closed in 1984, he organized many groundbreaking shows, including “Sound Sculpture As” in 1970. MOCA has entered history as one of the first alternative art spaces. Marioni had one-person shows in several significant venues for early conceptual art, among them the Richard Demarco Gallery in Edinburgh in 1972 and Gallery Foksal in Warsaw in 1975. In 1977 he had a solo show, “The Sound of Flight,” at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.
He has done installation/performance works at the Whitechapel Gallery in London (1972), the Institute of Contemporary Art in London (1973), the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (1980), and the Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany (1982), among other museums. He has produced sound works for radio stations KPFA in Berkeley and WDR in Cologne, Germany. In 1996 he organized The Art Orchestra and the group performed at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco.
Marioni was included in “For Eyes and Ears” (1980) at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin, “Live to Air” (1982) at the Tate Gallery in London, and “From Sound to Image” (1985) at the Stuttgart Staatsgalerie in Germany. His work was shown in “Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object” (1998) at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and “The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia,” (2009) at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
Drawing is central to Marioni’s art, and in 1999 he had a drawing retrospective, with a catalog, at the Mills College Art Museum in Oakland. In 2006 the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati presented a survey of his work and published a catalog. Marioni is the author of Beer, Art and Philosophy, 2003, a memoir, also Writings on Art 1969-1999, and Fabliaux Tom Marioni Fairy Tales. He was editor/designer of VISION magazine published by Crown Point Press, 1975-1981. Issues were titled “California,” “Eastern Europe,” “New York City,” “Word Of Mouth,” (phonograph records) and “Artist’s Photographs,” and published prints, since 1974.
Tom Marioni received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981 and three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts during the 1970s. His work is in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Stadtische Kunsthalle in Mannheim, Germany, the Pompidou Center in Paris, and other museums. He is represented by Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco, the Margarete Roeder Gallery in New York, and the Carl Solway Gallery in Cincinnati.
The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art.
1970-84 Tom Marioni opens the Museum of Conceptual Art (MOCA), San Francisco as an excuse for a party.
1970 Oakland Museum, Ca. The first “The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art”.
1972 Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh Scotland, Free Beer and soccer on TV, installation.
1973-74 Museum of Conceptual Art, Free Beer and artists video every Wednesday.
1976-79 Café Society every Wednesday downstairs from MOCA in Breens Bar.
1978 Now We’ll Have a Party. Performance Festival, Vienna Austria.
1979 Breen’s closes and Wednesdays become Academy of MOCA, moves next door to Jerry and Johnny’s
1979 Freibier. installation, Secession Gallery, Vienna Austria.
1979 The Museum of Conceptual Art at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Free Beer
1981-82 Artists Credit Cards are issued (aided by a NEA grant) to all artists, upon request, for free beer, Jerry and Johnnies Bar.
1982 A Social Action. Intersection Theatre, San Francisco.
1990 An artists club is established in my studio, and becomes Café Wednesday.
1994 Artists Space, New York City.
1995 LAMOCA. Reconsidering the Object of Art 1965-1975.
1998 Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna Austria. A Social Action, 1978.
1999 Y1 Gallery, Stockholm Sweden.
1999 Wednesdays in studio becomes The Society of Independent Artists. SIA
2000 Tokyo Japan, Asahi Breweries Ltd. Brad Brown performed Beer with friends-.
2000 Baltimore Museum of Art. Work Ethic.
2004 Yerba Beuna Center for the Arts, solo show, San Francisco.
2005 Lyon Biennale, Lyon, France.
2006 Retrospective Exhibition with free beer, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati.
2008 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The Art of Particapation.
2009 Solice, Austrian Cultural Forum, New York City.
2010 Publics and Counterpublics. CAAC, Seville, Spain.
2010 The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Beer with Friends…
2011 La Ferma du Buisson, Paris, The Circle Dance.
2011 Arnofini, Bristol UK. Museums by Artists.
2011 Kunstlerhaus, Vienna Austria, Relationship Building.
2011 James Cohan Gallery, New York, Beer with Friends…
2011 YU Art Center, Portland Or. Beer with Friends…
2012 Smart Museum, Chicago Ill. Feast.
2012 Y1 Gallery, Stockholm Sweeden at Museum of Modern Art.
2012 Anniversary Exhibition, Musee d’Art Moderne et Contemporain of Geneva, Switzerland
2013 Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, TX. Feast.
2013 HALLE 14, Leipzig, Germany. The Pleasures and Politics of Food. Traveling to Weimar 2014.
2013 Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE. Beer with Friends.
2013 Green Gallery, Milwaukee WI. Beer
2014 Site Santa Fe, Feast
2014 Kunstsaele, Berlin Germany. Solo show. drawings, beer installation.
2014 Wigman, Alaska Projects, Sydney Australia.
2014 Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville.
2014 Kenyon College, Ohio. Feast.
2014 University of Washington, Seatle.
2015 University of Minnesota, Feast
2015 City Gallery of Bremen Germany. Im Rausch, Beer Art.
2015 Center for Art, Dortmund Germany, New Gold-Art Beer & Alchemy.
2016 Opening of new SFMOMA beer installation.