With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972-1985
at Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College
June 26, 2021 - November 28, 2021
Franklin Williams (b. 1940 in Ogden, UT; lives and works in Petaluma, CA) is a critical yet underrepresented Bay Area figure whose work defies the parameters of the Funk, Nut, Visionary and Pattern & Decoration movements. Since the early 1960s, the artist has maintained an idiosyncratic approach to art-making, creating intricately constructed sculptures, paintings, and works on paper using a range of techniques and processes, including stitching yarn and crochet thread directly into his supports. Influenced by household craft traditions and historical styles of ornament, Williams’s deeply personal work—rich with material and conceptual experimentation—addresses elemental themes of sexuality and desire, fantasy and reality, life and death.
Recent solo exhibitions include those held at Parker Gallery, Los Angeles (2019, 2017) and the Sonoma County Art Museum, Santa Rosa, CA (2017). In 1967, the artist’s work was included in the legendary Funk exhibition organized by Peter Selz at the Berkeley Art Museum. Recent group exhibitions include With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2019; travels to the Hessel Museum of Art, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY); Less is a Bore: Maximalist Art & Design, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2019); and Jean Conner, Wally Hedrick, Deborah Remington and Franklin Williams, Karma, New York (2017). His work is held in the collections of the Minneapolis Institute of Art; Oakland Art Museum; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; San Jose Museum of Art; and the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, among others.