For over three decades William E. Jones (b. 1962, Canton, Ohio) has been producing films, videos, photographs, and books that re-examine existing cultural materials. While some of his sources are images and texts housed in archives, he is equally at home out in the world taking pictures and conducting interviews. He has explored the decline of America’s industrial Midwest, the representation of gay men in sources as diverse as Eastern European pornography and police surveillance footage, the psychedelic visual potential of Cold War military footage, and poetic connections between the randomized nature of the Internet and ancient philosophy. Jones’ varied production is a testament to the degree to which he rethinks the role of the artist, as well as his critical stance toward a culture that undervalues commitment, intellectual engagement, and embodied personal connections.
William E. Jones has been the subject of many solo exhibitions and retrospectives at institutions including the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2015); St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri (2013); Austrian Film Museum, Vienna (2011); Anthology Film Archives, New York (2010); and ar/ge kunst Galerie Museum, Bolzano, Italy (2009). His work is in the public collections of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne, Australia; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; St. Louis Art Museum; and Tate, London, among other museums. Recent and notable group exhibitions include Histories of our Time, Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel, Switzerland (2019); FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, Ohio (2018); Ordinary Pictures, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2016); and the Whitney Biennial 1993 and 2008, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. His latest novel, I Should Have Known Better, was published in 2021. He is also the author of True Homosexual Experiences: Boyd McDonald and Straight to Hell, Halsted Plays Himself, and I’m Open to Anything. Jones lives and works in Los Angeles.