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McWilliams, Jim, 1937-

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1937

Jim McWilliams (born February 10, 1937) is an artist and graphic designer who was active as an avant-garde performer and creator of performance works during the 1960s and 1970s.

McWilliams began his career at the typography studio at the Philadelphia College of Art, where he “radicalized” the department by opening his classes to all, regardless of major or grade point average, and collaborating with students on performance events around the city. As a result McWilliams was popular among students, and maintained friendships with some long after his teaching years. McWilliams also taught typography at the Hartford Art School, University of Hartford, and as part of the Hoosuck Arts Guild in western Massachusetts.

Spanning more than half a century, McWilliams has had a prolific and varied career as an artist and graphic designer. In his early years in Philadelphia, he was active in the avant-garde arts scene, taking part in many performances and exhibitions. His art often featured prominently in his personal life as well as his professional one; after moving to New York City, McWilliams was recognized for his decorating his Manhattan apartment in paper furnishings and decorative objects of his own design and construction. Over time he experimented with and adopted new technologies in his work, frequently using computer-aided design and digital tools in the 1990s and beyond. As a graphic designer, McWilliams has had many notable clients, from major corporations such as the Dial Corporation, to government agencies such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to apparel brands such as Bad Boy. McWilliams had many collaborative relationships with other artists over his long career, including Claire Van Vliet, the artist and founder of Janus Press and Swiss artist Dieter Roth, in addition to Nam June Paik, Terry Riley, La Monte Young, and Marian Zazeela. McWilliams is also known for his frequent collaborations with avant-garde artist Charlotte Moorman. Their work together began during his years in Philadelphia and continued after McWilliams moved to New York City in 1968, where he was a regular contributor to Moorman’s Annual Avant Garde Festival of New York (1963-1980), writing and performing pieces as part of the Festival’s events, as well as designing many of the posters for the Festival. McWilliams composed many pieces for Moorman over the years, including Ice Music (1972), Candy (1973), and C. Moorman in Drag (1973).

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Jim McWilliams Archive

 Collection
Identifier: MS176
Overview Jim McWilliams (born February 10, 1937) is an artist and graphic designer who was active as an avant-garde performer and creator of performance works during the 1960s and 1970s. The Jim McWilliams Archive is arranged in five series: Correspondence, Photographs, and Clippings; Design Work; Audiovisual Media; Digital Media; and Born-Digital Materials.