brief bio


William Anastasi is one of the founders of the Conceptual Art "not merely as an exponent of this kind of art but historically as one of the very inventors of the idiom itself in the 1960's "(Richard Milazzo). Citing the weight carried by the precedence of Duchamp's 'Three Standard Stoppages' and other chance derived work, he began a series of Blind Drawings in 1963, which lead to unsighted Subway Drawings in 1968, begun as an extension of his Pocket Drawings from the same period.
In the late 70's he reinvestigated the Subway Drawings riding to and from daily chess games with John Cage. Sitting with a pencil in each hand and a drawing board on his lap, his elbows at an angle of 90 degrees, his shoulders away from the back rest, Anastasi was operating as a seismograph, allowing the rhythm of the moving train - its starts, stops and turns, accelerations and decelerations, to be transformed into lines on paper. This signifies not only the internalization of chance in a work but furthermore the phenomenological process:..."it is an art object that expresses the physicality of its making." (Pamela Lee) Anastasi demonstrates his concerns and reflections with the act of not seeing. In an 1990 interview about Anastasi's modus operandi vis a vis Surrealism's Automatism John Cage made a clear distinction:"It's not psychological; it's physical." Anastasi surrenders to a random process, allowing deeper or more intricate structures to surface. The results are mysterious and highly subtle drawings, exposing another order, a timeless noncausal scenario of universal physiological conditions. Since the 60s he has presenting
his works world-wide in some of the most prestigious galleries and permanent museum collections. In addition to exhibitions around the United States, he has shown extensively in Europe and Great Britain, as well as in Japan and Korea. He was appointed artistic advisor for the Merce Cunningham Company in 1984. He has had two retrospective exhibitions: the first at The Levy Galleries of The Moore College of Art in Philadelphia in 1995; the second at The Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center, Copenhagen in 2001. In 1977 John Cage was the "narrator" in William Anastasi's theater piece "You Are" presented at The Clocktower in New York City. John Cage and William Anastasi played chess virtually every day for fifteen years. Since the 60s he has presenting his works all over the world in some of the most prestigious galleries and museums. Among the galleries that had made exhibitions in the last forty years there are the Dwan Gallery, in New York City; the Whiterspoon Gallery, in Greensboro; the Washington Square Gallery, in New York City; the PS1 Mus., the Hetzler and Keller Gallery in Stuttgart, Germany; the Whytney Museum; the Kunstmuseum of Dusseldorf; the Bess Culter Gallery; the Stalke Gallery in Copenhagen, Denmark; the Scott Hanson Gallery; the Sandra Gering Gallery, in New York; the Krister Fahl Gallery in Stockholm; the Sorbonne University in Paris; the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia; the Pier Gallery in Scotland; the Moore Collection and Design in Philadelphia; the Anders Tomberg Gallery in Sweden; the Hubert Winter Gallery in Vienna, Austria; the Museum of Judaica in Philadelphia; the Specta Gallery in Copenhagen; the S65 Gallery in Belgium; the Gary Tatintsian Gallery in New York; the Art Agents Gallery in Hamburg, Germany; the Niels Borch Jensen Gallery in Berlin; the Nikolaj Contemporary Art Gallery in Copenhagen; the Hubert Winter Gallery in Viena, Austria; the Thomas Rehbein Gallery in Cologne, Germany. He is also represented in permanent collections of several museums in the most diverse countries, like the Neuberger Museum of New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York, Brooklyn; the Museum of Art of Philadelphia; the Museum of Art of Phoenix; the Getty Collection in Santa Monica, California; the Museum of Contemporary Art of Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art of New York - MOMA; the Harvard University Art Museum; the Contemporary Art Museum of Honolulu; the Modern Art Museum of Stockholm; the Whitney Museum; the Jewish Museum in New York; the Statensmuseum for Kunst in Copenhagen; the Contemporary Art Museum of Malmo in Sweden; the Guggenheim Museum of New York; the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston; the Ludwig Koln Museum of Cologne, Germany; and the Baltimore Museum of Art among others. He has also being lecturer invited by numerous institutions all over the world.