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What Is Art For?

Presented by MarinMOCA at Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, Novato CA

Feb 05 2022
Mar 20 2022
What Is Art For?

Patricia Leeds, "Once Upon A Time In California," 2021

Annual MarinMOCA artist member exhibition

Exhibition Dates:
* February 5 – March 20

Reception:  Sold Out

Virtual Art Talk:
* Thursday, February 24, 5:30 pm

What Is Art For? opens on Saturday, February 5, 2022, and features over 90 works created by MarinMOCA’s artist member community.

The exhibition theme is inspired by William T. Wiley and Mary Hull Webster’s 1999 Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) exhibition of the same name and pays tribute to the late Wiley, who passed away in Novato earlier this year, and is one of the Bay Area’s most legendary artists hailing from Marin County.

The original OMCA show What Is Art For? William T. Wiley and Mary Hull Webster and 100 Artists resulted from Wiley’s own invitation for a solo exhibition at the esteemed museum. Declining the opportunity, he instead turned the offer into a platform to showcase the breadth of art being produced across the region.

The show was notable for its emphasis on community, collaboration, inclusivity, and democratization of the gallery space by presenting both famous and unknown artists on a level playing field.

This open-ended exhibition model provides an apt jumping off point for the diverse voices of MarinMOCA’s artist community to reflect on the exhibition’s prompt as well as Wiley’s own legacy as an artist who defied categorization, charting a course entirely his own. 

Wiley developed a unique visual vocabulary that combined his lifelong interests in liberal social and environmental concerns as well as philosophy and mysticism. His hallmark text and wordplay infuse his varied body of work with  humorous puns, sarcasm, and double entendre to critique many of the most urgent issues of our time.

A small group of works by Wiley will accompany the exhibition, that highlight the artist’s distinctive blend of wit and wisdom and resonate with the range of voices on view from our artist member community.

What Is Art For? Invites both artist and viewer to consider, and reflect on, the role that art plays in our lives. Spanning all galleries this engaging exhibition includes work in a variety of media and genres. Art can inspire conversation, educate, document our world, stimulate our imaginations, or simply provide solace in disturbing times.

We encourage visitors of all ages to enjoy this provocative exhibition on view from February 5, through March 20, 2022.

Curator and writer Renny Pritikin will jury the awards.  Join Renny Pritikin and MarinMOCA’s executive director Amy Owen for a virtual walk through of MarinMOCA’s Artist Member exhibition What Is Art For? on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 5:30 pm.

Generous support for this exhibition is provided by Ronald R. Collins


Free admission

Contact: 415-506-0137


    Official Website

Additional time info:

Virtual Art TalkThursday, February 24, 5:30 pm

Museum Hours:
Wed-Fri, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sat-Sun, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
(Note:  Sat, Feb 5 – closed to public at 2pm for limited-attendance reception)


Marin Museum of Contemporary Art

500 Palm Drive, Novato, CA 94949


Free Parking and Handicapped Accessible


    • Wheelchair Access



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