William T. Wiley




William T. Wiley is born in Bedford, Indiana.




William T. Wiley begins teaching at the University of California, Davis, alongside Roy De Forest.

1963–66 1963

Stephen Kaltenbach attends the University of California, Davis, where William T. Wiley and Roy De Forest are teaching.


Bruce Nauman enrolls in the relatively new art department at the University of California, Davis. William T. Wiley becomes an important teacher and eventually friend of Nauman’s.


William T. Wiley takes Bruce Nauman to the Mount Carmel Salvage Shop and shows Nauman the slant step. Nauman asks Wiley to buy it, and it lives in Nauman’s studio for a long time.

1965–92 1965

Roy De Forest teaches alongside William T. Wiley at the University of California, Davis.


William T. Wiley, Slant Step Becomes Rhino/Rhino Becomes Slant Step, 1966. Plaster, acrylic, paint, and chain; 22 × 12 × 12 in. (55.8 × 30.5 × 30.5 cm). Collection Ron Wagner and Bonnie Ruder


Bruce Nauman and William T. Wiley participate in the first Slant Step Show at the Berkeley Art Gallery, which includes the original slant step object. According to legend, the step was stolen by Richard Serra and taken to New York.

late 1960s 1966

As their professor–student relationship evolves into a friendship, Bruce Nauman and William T. Wiley play music together around Davis in bands called the Moving Van Walters and His Truck and then Blue Crumb Truck. Nauman plays guitar and bass.


Bruce Conner, Roy De Forest, and William T. Wiley are included in Peter Selz’s Funk exhibition at University Art Museum, Berkeley.


Bruce Nauman and William T. Wiley’s band Blue Crumb Truck plays at the opening of Funk at the University Art Gallery in Berkeley.


The Nauman family moves into William T. Wiley’s house and studio in Mill Valley (north of San Francisco) for the summer while Wiley traveled through Europe.


William T. Wiley participates in Funk, an exhibition curated by Peter Selz at the University Art Museum, Berkeley. It includes Wiley’s Slant Step Becomes Rhino/Rhino Becomes Slant Step in addition to works by Bruce Conner and Roy De Forest.


Stephen Kaltenbach, Bruce Nauman, and William T. Wiley contribute to Phil Weidman’s Slant Step Book.




William T. Wiley and Robert Nelson drumming on Stephen Kaltenbach’s Slant Step 2, 1971. © 1971 Gunvor Nelson & Dorothy Wiley. From the film Five Artists: BillBobBillBillBob
Film still courtesy of Canyon Cinema Foundation


William T. Wiley, Bad Balance, 1979. Acrylic, and ink and charcoal on canvas; 94 ½ × 130 ½ in. (240 × 331.5 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift from the Collection of Kay and Craig Tuber, 2012.15.a-b
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago