Brian Conley is an artist from New York currently living in San Francisco, where he is a professor in the graduate fine arts and sculpture programs of the California College of the Arts. From radio performance to sculptural, research-based, and collaborative installations, Conley’s artistic practice operates between science, art, and politics.
Drawing from an eclectic background that spans sculpture and performance, philosophy and behavioral science, Conley’s work is centrally concerned with the roots of social violence, the origins of language, and the possibility of meaningful communication even across radical divides—for example, between human and animal, between human and machine. Conley’s interest in creating institutional structures has led him to co-found Cabinet magazine and to participate in the startup of a remote-teaching art program and communication hub for Iraqi artists in the diaspora and those in Baghdad, Sada (Echo) for Contemporary Iraqi Art.
He has exhibited internationally, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, ArtBasel, and MassMoCA, as well as producing commissioned works at the Wanas Foundation in Knislinge, Sweden, and the ArtPace Foundation for Contemporary Art in San Antonio, Texas. Recent projects include exhibitions at Pierogi Gallery in Leipzig, Germany, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, and at the Boiler/Pierogi Gallery, New York. Conley has won awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation of the Arts, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, The ArtPace Foundation, and the International Art Critics Association.
Conley holds a B.A. in Experimental Psychology from the State University of New York at Binghamton, an M.F.A. in Studio Art and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota, and is a graduate of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. He has taught previously at University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), New York University (New York), University of Minnesota (Minneapolis), Parsons School of Design (New York), and ExTeresa Arte Actuel (Mexico City).
Conley is founding co-editor with Sina Najafi of Cabinet magazine, an international art-and-culture quarterly. From 2005 to 2008, he was Chair of the Graduate Fine Art Program at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, and he currently serves as Educational and Curatorial Adviser to Sada (Echo) for Contemporary Iraqi Art. He is the spring semester 2014 Visiting Artist / Visiting Professor in the Visual Cultures Program at the American University of Cairo program in Egypt.