William S. Burroughs


William Seward Burroughs II was born 5 February 1914 in St. Louis, Missouri. Burroughs was an innovative writer and artist in many media. A primary figure of the Beat Generation, Burroughs went on to deeply influence a wide swath of culture and thought with dozens of books and hundreds of paintings, essays, spoken word performances and multi-media collaborations.

A Harvard graduate, Burroughs followed his fascinations through the underworlds and subcultures of international cities including Tangiers, Paris, New York, London, Chicago, New Orleans, Vienna, Dubrovnik, Budapest, Athens, and Mexico City. Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac were key figures in his life and early literary career. Teaching him to ‘see’ paintings, Brion Gysin was fundamental to Burroughs’ artistic development and shared with him such techniques as the ‘cut-up’, calligraphy, and painting with an engraved wallpaper roller. Other important collaborators include Keith Haring, Robert Rauschenberg, George Condo, Philip Taaffe, Antony Balch, Ian Sommerville, Robert Wilson, Tom Waits, and Kurt Cobain.

In 1981, Burroughs moved his home to Lawrence, Kansas, where he began to make shotgun art. He went on to develop a wide range of painting techniques. From 1982 until his late years, he prolifically created visual art. Burroughs’ work has since been featured in over fifty international galleries and museums including Royal Academy of the Arts, Centre Pompidou, Guggenheim Museum, New Museum, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art. On 2 August 1997, Burroughs passed away in Lawrence at the age of 83.

Solo Exhibitions

2014 William S. Burroughs: Creative Observer, Lawrence Arts Center, Lawrence, KS, USA

2014 William Burroughs 100, Riflemaker Gallery, London, UK

2014 Burroughs Century, Grunwald Gallery, University of Indiana, Bloomington, IN, USA

2014 Taking Shots: Photography of William S. Burroughs, The Photographers' Gallery, London, UK

2013 Burroughs/Retrospektive, Deichtorhallen, Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg, Germany

2013 Cut-ups Cut-ins Cut-outs. The Art of William S. Burroughs, Mglc-International Centre for Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia

2013 Transient Images – Paintings by Burroughs, Gonzo Gallery, Aspen, CO, USA

2012 All out of time and into space, October Gallery, London, UK

2012 The Name Is Burroughs – Expanded Media, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe (ZKM), Karlsruhe, Germany

2012 Cut-ups Cut-ins Cut-outs. Die Kunst des William S. Burroughs, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria

2009 The Sky Is Thin As Paper Here, Stellan Holm Gallery, New York, USA

2009 Naked Leftovers, DotDotDot Artspace, Lawrence, KS, USA

2009 50th Anniversary Celebration of William S. Burroughs’ The Naked Lunch, Th!nkart Salon, Chicago, IL, USA

2009 William S. Burroughs, London Photographs, Maggs Bros, London, UK

2008 Burroughs Live, GSK Contemporary Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK

2008 Rub Out the Word, Stellan Holm Gallery, New York, USA

2008 William S. Burroughs: Life File, Riflemaker, London, UK

2005 The Unseen Art of William S. Burroughs (three parts: Dead Aim, Pistol Poem and Rifle Range), Riflemaker, London, UK

2004 The Seven Deadly Sins, Raab Galerie, Berlin, Germany

1999 Galerie Carzaniga & Ueker, Basel, Switzerland

1996 William Burroughs, Ports of Entry, Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles;  Spencer Museum, Lawrence, KS, USA

1996 Concrete and Buckshot. Burroughs Paintings 1987-1996, Track 16 Gallery and Robert Berman Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, USA

1996 Nineties Beat Paintings, David Levik Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

1996 Paintings, Webb Gallery, Waxahachie, Texas, USA

1995 The Seven Deadly Sins, Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, Denmark

1995 Terrain Gallery, San Francisco, USA

1994 Photographs 1962-1972, Vintage Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

1994 Nagual Marks, Aktionsforum Praterinsel, Munich, Germany

1994 The Bourgeois Pig, Lawrence, USA

1994 Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Wichita, USA

1993 Center for Study and Exhibit of Drawings, Exquisite Corpse, New York, USA

1993 Galeria Sephira, Madrid, Spain

1993 Galerie Porte-Avion, Marseille, France

1993 The Seven Deadly Sins, Gagosian Gallery, New York; The Writer’s Place, Kansas City, USA

1992 The Seven Deadly Sins, Earl McGrath Gallery, Los Angeles; Nautilus Foundation, Lloyd; Hokin Gallery, Bay Harbor Islands;

1992 George Mulder Fine Arts, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Galerie Kunst Parterre, Viersen, Germany, Mincher-Wilcox Gallery, San Francisco, USA;

1992 Transit Gallery, Bergamo, Italy, Artists en Mass, Lawrence, Kansas; October Gallery, London, UK;

1992 Casa Burroughs: shotgun, dipinti e altro, Atelier Marconi Gallery, Torino, Italy

1991 Galerie Carzaniga & Ueker, Basel, Switzerland

1991 Galerie K, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

1991 Vanguardia Galeria de Arte, Bilbao, Spain

1990 Galerie K, Paris, France

1990 Shotgun Paintings, works on wood & paper, The Seed Hall/Seibu Shibuya, Tokyo; Akarenga Hall/Seibu Sapporo, Sapporo, Japan

1990 Galerie Waschsalon, Frankfurt, Germany

1990 Earl McGrath Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

1990 Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut, Tübingen, Germany

1990 Galeria Sephira, Madrid, Spain

1989 Gallerie OBORO and Atelier Roger Bellemare, Montreal, Canada

1989 Cold City Gallery, Toronto, Canada

1989 Galerie Carzaniga & Ueker, Basel Art Fair, Basel, Switzerland

1989 Galeria EMI Valentim de Carvalho, Lisbon, Portugal

1989 Cleto Polcina Artemodernna, Rome, Italy

1989 Kellas Gallery, Lawrence, Kansas

1989 Elliot Smith Gallery, St. Louis, USA

1988 October Gallery, London, UK

1988 The Western Front Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

1988 Gallery Casa Sin Nombre, Santa Fe, USA

1988 Suzanne Biederberg Gallery, Amsterdam Art Fair, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

1987 Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, USA

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