The World of William T. Wiley: A Look Inside “Fort Phooey” | Arts and theater
Young Wiley was immediately put off and never took an interest in the New York art world again. Subsequently, he told an interviewer at the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution, “being in New York all the time, painting, with no other form of life, wouldn’t feel real to me.” Such an attitude really sums up the difference between the New York and Northern California paradigms.
The 1976 MOMA show was remembered in di Rosa through the murky description of something in stock. About 1,600 of di Rosa’s 2,000 works of art are held in a warehouse in Oakland, most of which have not been reliably cataloged. So when Ruby ordered something titled “Donation” (a signature Wiley pun) from the warehouse, she figured she was receiving a sculpture that had been packaged to protect her.
When the package arrived at di Rosa and was unpacked, it was not a sculpture, but rather various documents from the MOMA exhibition in 1976 – including photos of the gallery with the guitar on the ground. Also included was one of the notebooks viewers were asked to draw, which included Wiley’s own notes for the exhibit.
Most valuable, however, was a note written to one of MOMA’s curators. Apparently, this woman withdrew one of the notebooks from the show, thinking it was somehow inappropriate. When Wiley heard about this, he made a note asking for her return. In the note, he is perfectly nice, and offers to give it to him at the end of the show. The Conservatives believe that the notebook in question is the one that was included in the package.