William Villalongo (MFA '01)

William Villalongo (MFA '01) is a painter, printmaker, sculptor, installation artist and curator, as well as an associate professor at The Cooper Union School of Art. Working out of the notion of Blackness as a verb, he reframes familiar images, events and themes in our cultural landscape while exploring dualities like male/female and visibility/invisibility, intentionally appropriating from areas like ancient mythologies and contemporary politics. 

"Most of all, Villalongo suggests that it’s history that shapes the black body... This historical circumstance helps to make the black body just that: a black body—a heavily theorized, discursive construction that is pulled in several opposed directions at once: authenticity, fake-it-til-you-make-it performance, violence and conscientious objection to it, Christian religiosity and pre-modern belief systems, sexual delight and sexual revulsion. The list goes on."

– Hyperallergic

He has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions at institutions and galleries like the Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; the Brooklyn Museum of Art and MoMA PS1, both in New York City; the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts; and The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture, Charlotte; among many others. He was also co-curator, with Tyler Assistant Professor of Painting Mark Thomas Gibson, of the nationally-toured exhibition Black Pulp!, which presented a century of critical interpretations of black identity in American history through art and rare literary works.

Villalongo is the recipient of several prestigious honors, like the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award; the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptor's Grant; and a NYFA Artist’s Fellowship. His work is included in several notable collections, including the Studio Museum In Harlem; El Museo del Barrio and the Whitney Museum of American Art, both in New York City; the Princeton University Art Museum; and the Denver Art Museum. 


  • Above: William Villalongo in front of his works (from top to bottom), ZERO GRAVITY 1 and ZERO GRAVITY 2. Photo courtesy of Argenis Apolinario Photography.