Biography

For over forty years, Viola’s practice has continuously transformed our understanding of video as an art form, expanding its technological scope and historical relevance. He draws from a range of influences, including Eastern and Western art and the spiritual traditions of Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism and Christian mysticism, to express fundamental truths underpinning human existence. Bill Viola’s profound visual language captures and reveals thoughts, feelings and memories that have a universal appeal, offering viewers a vehicle for the exploration and contemplation of their own circumstances and emotions. Since the early 1970s Viola’s video art works have been seen all over the world.  Viola has held solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; U.S. Pavilion exhibition at the 46th Venice Biennale; the Whitney Museum, New York; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; National Gallery, London; Fondación ‘La Caixa’, Madrid; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Grand Palais, Paris; National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C.; and Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain.

Receiving his BFA in Experimental Studios from Syracuse University in 1973, Viola holds honorary doctorates from Syracuse University (1995), The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1997), California Institute of the Arts (2000), and Royal College of Art, London (2004) among others. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1989. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and in 2006 he was awarded Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Government. In 2009 he received the XXI Catalonia International Prize in Barcelona, Spain. Viola was awarded the Praemium Imperiale art award in the category of painting in 2011. Viola was made a National Academician of the New York based National Academy in June 2012.

Bill Viola and Kira Perov, his wife and long-time collaborator, live and work in Long Beach, California.