Wilmer Wilson IV

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Wilmer Wilson IV
Richmond, VA
Alma materHoward University, University of Pennsylvania
Known forPerformance Art

Wilmer Wilson IV (born 1989) is an American artist based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who works in performance, photography, sculpture, and other media.[1] Although typically identified as a performance artist, Wilson also works with sculpture[2] and photography.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Wilson was born in Richmond, Virginia.[1] He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Howard University in 2012 and later his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015.[4]


Wilson's work has been exhibited widely in the U.S.[5][6][7][8]and Europe in galleries, art fairs[8][9] and museums.[6][10] Wilson has been the recipient of a Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Fellowship[11] and an American Academy in Rome Fellowship.[11]

He has also been awarded several public art and museum[10] commissions including the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (5x5 Public Art Commission)[12] and a Films4Peace Commission.[13] Additionally, Wilson’s work and performances have been presented at The New Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia; New Orleans Museum of Art; Birmingham Museum of Art; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; American University Museum; The National Portrait Gallery; and, the Flanders Fields Museum, Ieper, Belgium.[1] His work is housed in the permanent collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; New Orleans Museum of Art; Birmingham Museum of Art; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; The Phillips Collections; West Collection, Oaks, Pennsylvania; and, the 21C Museum-Hotel, Louisville, KY.[1]


Wilson has been reviewed[4][14] in multiple American and European newspapers and art magazines.[4][15][16] In 2018 American art critic Holland Cotter described Wilson's work as "gorgeous" in a review for The New York Times.[7] The Chicago Tribune has described Wilson as "a material and performance artist focused on ephemera and race."[8] In a 2015 essay, essay, Hannah McShea posited that the artist's performances are "ahead of his time and still a member of a long lineage."[17] The New York Times noted in 2018 that "[i]n his mixed-media work and live performances, Mr. Wilson investigates 'the way that blackness is represented in the city space,' he said—specifically the treatment of black bodies as objects of labor or desire, and the ever-present threat of violence."[6]

Exhibitions and performances[edit]

Wilson's earliest exhibitions were around the greater Washington, DC area, and his earliest notable press[18] emerged during his 2011 residency at Strathmore Hall in Bethesda, MD,[19] where he was mentored[20] by well-known[21] Washington, D.C. multimedia artist Tim Tate.[20] As art critic Claudia Rousseau noted in a review of Wilson's residency program exhibition, "This Howard University undergraduate is one to watch."[22]

The artist's durational performance work, Henry "Box" Brown: FOREVER (2012), was a suite of three public performances in Washington, D.C., in which the artist covered his bare body with US postage stamps and walked to post offices asking to be mailed, after the legacy of Henry Box Brown.[23] In Portrait with Hydrogen Peroxide Strips (2015), Wilson stood in the main hall of the National Portrait Gallery and covered his bare body in teeth-whitening hydrogen peroxide strips, a continuation of the artist's interest in creating "skins" out of dense patterns of repeated materials and symbols.[24]

Wilmer Wilson IV is represented by Susan Inglett Gallery, New York, and CONNERSMITH, Washington, D.C.[1][4]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Wilmer Wilson IV". www.inglettgallery.com. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  2. ^ "July/August 2018 Sculpture Magazine -Wilmer Wilson IV". www.sculpture.org. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  3. ^ "Fire Bill's Spook KitWilmer Wilson IV". In Flanders Fields Museum. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  4. ^ a b c d "WILMER WILSON IV - Artists - CONNERSMITH". www.connersmith.us.com. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  5. ^ "Wilmer Wilson IV, "Faust in the City," Reviewed". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  6. ^ a b c Sheets, Hilarie M. (2018-02-02). "Meet Six Disrupters at the New Museum's Triennial". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  7. ^ a b Cotter, Holland (2018-02-22). "New Museum Triennial Looks Great, but Plays It Safe". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  8. ^ a b c Hawbaker, K. T. (January 19, 2017). "10 must-see galleries at Expo Chicago". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  9. ^ "Wilmer Wilson IV: VOLTA New York". ny.voltashow.com. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  10. ^ a b https://www.facebook.com/peggy.mcglone.1. "Experimentation is key to success for National Portrait Gallery's director". Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  11. ^ a b jvolpe (2018-06-08). "Pew Fellow of the Week: An Interview with Visual Artist Wilmer Wilson IV". The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  12. ^ Chae, Julie (2012-07-02). "Sealed and Delivered? Wilmer Wilson IV's 5x5 Public Art Project in DC (J. Chae)". Arts in a Changing America. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  13. ^ "Wilmer Wilson IV : films4peace". films4peace.com. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  14. ^ Salisbury, Stephan (April 4, 2017). "That guy walking the streets of Philly with a TV? He's art. Others will follow". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  15. ^ "Field Notes: Wilmer Wilson IV's Playlist". Art in America. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  16. ^ "100 Under 100: The New Superstars of Southern Art". www.oxfordamerican.org. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  17. ^ McShea, Hannah (2015). "Wilmer Wilson IV and the Body Surface: Intersubjectivity and a Call to Decenter the Decentered". Expose Magazine.
  18. ^ Williams, Erin (July 25, 2011). "Strathmore Artists-in-Residence exhibition brings the bold and unexpected from Washington-area artists". The Washington Post.
  19. ^ "2010-2011 Strathmore Fine Artists in Residence Exhibition Opening Reception". Kensington, MD Patch. 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  20. ^ a b "PHOTO GALLERY: Deconstructing Strathmore's Past". Rockville, MD Patch. 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  21. ^ "Tim Tate: Sleepwalker | American University Museum, Katzen Arts Center, Washington DC". American University. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  22. ^ Rousseau, Claudia (August 12, 2011). "Two exhibits shine with new media and new art". The Gazette Newspaper.
  23. ^ "Artist Covers Himself With Stamps and Asks to Be Mailed". My Modern Met. 2013-04-09. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  24. ^ "Photos: Wilmer Wilson IV - Portrait with Hydrogen Peroxide Strips". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2019-07-11.

External links[edit]