Biographical / Historical
Tom Marioni (1937- ) is a conceptual and performance artist in San Francisco, California, known for his role in the emergence of the conceptual art movement in the 1960s to the mid-1970s.
Marioni was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and from an early age had an interest in music, particularly jazz, and played the violin. He attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati before moving to San Francisco where his art was included in a juried exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Marioni served in the U.S. Army between 1960-1963 and was stationed in Germany, before returning to pusue a career as an artist and educator.
Through his works "One Second Sculpture" (1969) and "The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art" (1970), and his role in the founding of the Museum of Conceptual Art in 1970, Marioni played a key role in the conceptual art movement, and held several art shows at the Museum of Conceptual Art before its closure in 1984. In weekly Cafe Wednesdays, Marioni's renditions of "The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art" were performance art shows in which guests were both participants and observers who were asked to follow several rules, drink beer, and interact. The show was held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1979, and renditions of the performance have since occurred in museums around the world. In 1989, Marioni established an artists club in his San Francisco studio and began holding Cafe Wednesdays again. In 1999 the name "Cafe Wednesday" was changed to the Society of Independent Artists.
Marioni has had many solo shows throughout his career including exhibitions at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, de Young Museum, and Kunstsaele in Berlin, Germany. Retrospectives of Marioni's work have been held at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati and Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, and he has completed installations and participated in group exhibitions internationally, including at Y1 Gallery in Stockholm, Sweden, Demarco Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Lyon Biennale in France, Secession Gallery in Vienna, Austria, and many others. Marioni's work can be found 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 elsewhere.