<strong>William S. Burroughs</strong>, <em>The Painter’s Light</em>
(double-sided), 1987.<br>
Paint and gunshot holes on plywood,
83.8 x 71.1 cm.
<strong>William S. Burroughs</strong>, <em>Helpless Pieces in the Game He Plays</em> (detail), 1989. <br>Paint on Cadillac paper, 44.5 x 58.4 cm.<strong>William S. Burroughs</strong>, <em>Untitled (NO TRESPASSING sign)</em>, ca. 1988. 
Spray paint and gunshots on metal sign, 
36 x 55.5 cm.


William Burroughs at the Institut Française (Naked Lunch Launch series, Paris), 1959
Photo: © Brion Gysin.
William S. Burroughs, The Prison Scribe, c.1990. Ink, spray paint, photo and cut-out collage, 58.4 x 44.5 cm.

William S. Burroughs, a primary figure of the Beat Generation, profoundly influenced literature, media and successive generations of youth movements. In his incisive essays, longer fictional works, multimedia and visual art, he worked to expose political, economic and cultural control systems. Burroughs graduated from Harvard in anthropology. He mentored Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg in New York, where jointly they made a pact to change the course of literature. Burroughs explored relationships between word and image and, parallel to his literary output, made photographs and collages. The artist Brion Gysin introduced him to the powerful ‘cut-up’ technique, leading to influential collaborations between the two. When Gysin died in 1986, Burroughs honoured his friend by producing hundreds of paintings, collages and pieces of "shotgun art."

In 1988, October Gallery held the first solo exhibition of Burroughs' work outside the United States and in 1990 presented Two Collaborations: Keith Haring and William S. Burroughs. In 2012, All out of time and into space featured his space age art. In 2015, Can you all hear me? curated by Kathelin Gray, also exhibited other artists inspired by Burroughs: Liliane Lijn, Genesis P. Orridge, Brion Gysin, Shezad Dawood and Cerith Wyn Evans. Burroughs’ work has been featured in major international galleries and museums including ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany; Deichtorhallen Hamburg: Falckenberg Collection, Hamburg, Germany; Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna), Austria; Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA; New Museum, New York, USA; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland; Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK; Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, USA; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA. His work is in many major collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA; the British Museum, London, UK; Kochi Museum of Art, Kochi, Japan; and ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany. On 2 August 1997, Burroughs passed away at home. at the age of 83.

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View below for career highlights and works for sale by the artist.





Born in 1914, Missouri, USA. Died in 1997, Kansas, USA.
Selcted Solo Exhibitions
2020   Frieze New York, with October Gallery, London, UK (online edition)
2019   Drawing Dialogue, William S. Burroughs and Philip Taaffe, Semiose, Paris, France
2018   William S. Burroughs. Nova Convention, Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló, Castelló, Spain
2016   For the angel of death spreads his wings, Semiose, Paris, France
Painting & Guns, FIAC, Paris, France with Semiose, Paris, France 
2014   Taking Shots: The Photography of William S Burroughs, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK
Creative Observer, Lawrence Arts Center, Lawrence, Kansas
Can You All Hear Me?, October Gallery, London, UK
Animals in the Wall, London, Newcastle, London, UK
The Burroughs Century, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA 
2013   William S. Burroughs, Retrospektive, Deichterhallen, Hamburg, Germany
The Name Is Burroughs – Expanded Media, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe (ZKM), Karlsruhe, Germany
Cut-ups Cut-ins Cut-outs. Die Kunst des William S. Burroughs, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria 
2012  All out of time and into space, October Gallery, London, UK
  The Name Is Burroughs – Expanded Media, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe (ZKM), Karlsruhe, Germany
  Cut-ups Cut-ins Cut-outs. Die Kunst des William S. Burroughs, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria
William S. Burroughs, Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg, Germany
 2009  The Sky Is Thin As Paper Here, Stellan Holm Gallery, New York, USA
  Naked Leftovers, DotDotDot Artspace, Lawrence, USA
    50th Anniversary Celebration of William S. Burroughs’ The Naked Lunch, Th!nkart Salon, Chicago, USA
    William S. Burroughs, London Photographs, Maggs Bros, London, UK
2008   Burroughs Live, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK
    Rub Out the Word, Stellan Holm Gallery, New York, USA
    William S. Burroughs: Life File, Riflemaker, London, UK
2005   The Unseen Art of William S. Burroughs (three parts: Dead Aim, Pistol Poem and Rifle Range), Riflemaker, London, UK
2004   The Seven Deadly Sins, Raab Galerie, Berlin, Germany
1999   Galerie Carzaniga & Ueker, Basel, Switzerland
1996   William Burroughs, Ports of Entry, Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles;  Spencer Museum, Lawrence, USA
    Concrete and Buckshot. William S. Burroughs Paintings 1987-1996, Track 16 Gallery and Robert Berman Gallery, Santa Monica, USA
    Nineties Beat Paintings, David Levik Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
    Paintings, Webb Gallery, Waxahachie, Texas
1995   The Seven Deadly Sins, Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, Denmark
    Terrain Gallery, San Francisco, USA
1994   Photographs 1962-1972, Vintage Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Nagual Marks, Aktionsforum Praterinsel, Munich, Germany
    The Bourgeois Pig, Lawrence, USA
    Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Wichita, USA
1993   Center for Study and Exhibit of Drawings, Exquisite Corpse, New York
    Galeria Sephira, Madrid, Spain
    Galerie Porte-Avion, Marseille, France
    The Seven Deadly Sins, Gagosian Gallery, New York; The Writer’s Place, Kansas City, USA
1992   The Seven Deadly Sins, Earl McGrath Gallery, Los Angeles; Nautilus Foundation, Lloyd; Hokin Gallery, Bay Harbor Islands; Earl McGrath Gallery, Los Angeles; Mincher-Wilcox Gallery, San Francisco, USA; Artists en Mass, Lawrence, Kansas; October Gallery, London, UK; George Mulder Fine Arts, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Galerie Kunst Parterre, Viersen, Germany
    Transit Gallery, Bergamo, Italy
    Casa Burroughs: shotgun, dipinti e altro, Atelier Marconi Gallery, Torino, Italy
1991   Galerie Carzaniga & Ueker, Basel, Switzerland
    Galerie K, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Vanguardia Galeria de Arte, Bilbao, Spain
1990   Galerie K, Paris, France
    Shotgun Paintings, works on wood & paper, The Seed Hall/Seibu Shibuya, Tokyo; Akarenga Hall/Seibu Shibuya, Seibu Sapporo, Sapporo, Japan
    Galerie Waschsalon, Frankfurt, Germany
    Earl McGrath Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
    Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut, Tübingen, Germany
    Galeria Sephira, Madrid, Spain
1989   Gallerie OBORO and Atelier Roger Bellemare, Montreal, Canada
    Cold City Gallery, Toronto, Canada
    Galerie Carzaniga & Ueker, Basel Art Fair, Basel, Switzerland
    Galeria EMI Valentim de Carvalho, Lisbon, Portugal
    Cleto Polcina Artemodernna, Rome, Italy
    Kellas Gallery, Lawrence, Kansas
    Elliot Smith Gallery, St. Louis, USA
1988   October Gallery, London, UK
    The Western Front Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
    Gallery Casa Sin Nombre, Santa Fe, USA
    Suzanne Biederberg Gallery, Amsterdam Art Fair, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1987   Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, USA
Selcted Group Exhibitions
2020    A World of Absolute Relativity, Emerige, Le Voltaire, Paris, France
Atmospheres; Artists of the Transvangarde, October Gallery, London, UK
2019    Dream No Small Dream: Celebrating 40 Years of the Transvangarde, October Gallery, London, UK
Discoteca Analitica, Fri Art, Fribourg, Switzerland
Reason Gives No Answers, Newport Street Gallery, London, UK
William S. Burroughs & Brion Gysin, The Dreamachine, Gallery von Bartha, Basel, Switzerland 
2018    Black light - Hermetic traditions in Art since the 1950s, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona - CCCB, Barcelona, Spain
Space edits (the trouble with language), Beirut Art Center, Beirut, Lebanon
It’s personal, Edward Ressle, New York, USA
Kathy Acker. Get rid of meaning, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany 
2017   Margins, Gutters, Creeps and Bleeds, Capital, San Francisco, USA
Parole, Parole - Une exposition du 40e anniversaire du Centre Pompidou, Le Carré, Scène Nationale - Centre d’Art Contemporain, Chapelle du Genêteil, Château-Gontier, France 
2016   Beat Generation, ZKM - Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany touring to Musée national d'Art Moderne - Centre Pompidou (MNAM), Paris, France
Saltsplex, SALTS, Birsfelden, Germany
Freiheit - Gleichheit - Brüderlichkeit, Elektrohaus Hamburg e.V., Hamburg, Germany
Connected, CENTRALE for contemporary art, Brussels, Belgium
MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada 
2015   Richard Hawkins & William S. Burroughs, Cerith Wyn Evans, Isa Genzeken, Tom of Finland, Galerie Buchholz, Berlin, Germany
EYES FOR BLOWING UP BRIDGES: Joining the dots from the Situationist International to Malcolm McLaren, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, UK
His Master’s Voice, La Panacée, Montpellier, France
Great Gifts of Chance, Tom Christoffersen, Copenhagen, Denmark 
2014    35 Year Anniversary Show, Bergamot Station Arts Center, Santa Monica, USA
Nighttime in New York: Doron Langberg and Sam McKinniss, Haw Contemporary, Kansas, USA
Existenzielle Bildwelten, Sammlung Reinking, Weserburg Museum für moderne Kunst, Bremen, Germany
Paperwork: A Brief History of Artists’ Scrapbooks, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK
Siehe was dich sieht, Franz Graf, Schweizergarten, Vienna, Austria 
2011   Arp, Beckmann, Munch, Kirchner, Warho ... Klassiker in Bonn, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, Germany
  William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Th!nkart Salon, Chicago, USA
2009  The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860-1989, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
    Sonic Youth etc.: Sensational Fix, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; KIT Kunst im Tunnel, Düsseldorf, Germany
  Bukowski and Burroughs, Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, USA
    Rip It Up And Start Again, Kunstverein München, München, Germany
2008   Cut-Outs and Cut-Ups, Hans Christian Andersen and William Seward Burroughs, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland
    Traces du Sacré, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Haus der Kunst, München, Germany
    Oh Girl, It’s a Boy!, Kunstverein München, Germany
    The Writer’s Brush: Visual Art by Writers, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York; Pierre Menard Gallery, Cambridge, USA
    White Flag Projects, St. Louis, USA
    Omaggio a William Burroughs, Le Case d’Arte, Mailand, Italy
2007   The Third Mind, Carte blanche à Ugo Rondinone, Palais de Tokyo, Paris
    You’ll Never Know, Hayward Gallery, London; Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston; Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea; The Lowry, Salford; The New Art Gallery, Walsall; Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle, UK.
2006   Vinyl. Records and Covers by Artists, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Barcelona, Spain
    Radical Software, CCA Wattis, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco
    You’ll Never Know, New Art Gallery, Walsall, UK
    Light and Shadow, Galerie von Bartha, Basel, Germany
2004   Collage, Bloomberg Space, London, UK
1997   Exhibition with George Condo, Pat Hearn Gallery, New York, USA
1996   The Gun: Icon of Twentieth Century Art, Ubu Gallery, New York, USA
    BANG – Gunshot Art, Paolo Baldacci Gallery, New York
    Beat Culture and the New America, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA
1995   Beat Culture and the New America, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
1994   Two Guys With Guns Making Art (exhibition with Hunter S. Thompson), Floria Brown Gallery, Woody Creek, Colorado, USA
    Beat Generation Art, New York University, New York, USA
    The Ossuary, Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York, USA
1993   Et tous ils changent le Monde, 2ème Biennale d’Art Contemporain, Lyon, France
    Poetry and Painting, Porte Galerie Avion, Marseille, France
1992   Exhibition with Brion Gysin, Project Arts Centre, Dublin, Ireland
    Exhibition with Dennis Hopper, Sena Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1991   Galerie Carzaniga & Ueker, Basel Art Fair, Switzerland
    Contemporary Art Fair, Milan, Italy
    Exhibition with Keith Haring, Murray Feldman Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
1990   Exhibition with Keith Haring, October Gallery, London, UK
    XLIV Exposizione Internazionale d’Arte, Venice, Italy
    Paper Cloud, Thick Pages, exhibition with Allen Ginsberg, Gallery Casa Sin Nombre, Santa Fe, USA
    Galeria EMI Valentim de Carvalho at ARCO Art Fair, Madrid, Spain
    Vanguardia Galeria de Arte, Bilbao, Spain
    Exhibition with Robert Wilson, XPO Galerie, Hamburg, Germany
1989   The Valley, Keith Haring and William Burroughs, George Mulder Fine Arts, New York, USA
    Exhibition with Walter Dahn, Galerie Paul Maenz Köln, Cologne, Germany
1988   Exhibition with Sam Gilliam, Paul Klein Gallery, Chicago, USA
    Exhibition with St. EOM, Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, USA
    Literary Vision, Jack Tilton Gallery, New York, USA
1982   Exhibition at B2 Gallery, London, UK, supporting the Final Academy festival of readings and events celebrating William S. Burroughs and his work
Selcted Collections
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA
Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, USA
Washington University Gallery of Art, St. Louis, USA
Hallmark Collection, Kansas City, USA
Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, USA
British Museum, London, UK
Maison des ecrivans, Paris, France
Marseille Museum, Marseille, France
Kochi Museum of Art, Kochi, Japan
Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, USA
Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe (ZKM), Karlsruhe, Germany Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria