The scrapbooks and time travel are exercises to expand consciousness, to teach me how to think in association blocks rather than words.
William S. Burroughs, 1966
The Spencer Museum of Art joins other Lawrence celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the birth of William S. Burroughs by sharing a choice selection of works by the author as well as his close friends and collaborators. Burroughs, the éminence grise of the Beat Movement, was born on February 5, 1914, in St. Louis, Missouri. After residing in such diverse locales as Mexico City, London, Paris, and Tangier, he moved to Lawrence in 1981. Lawrence remained Burroughs’ home until his death in 1997. An inveterate champion of unconventional methods of probing human consciousness and expanding human experience, Burroughs’ brilliant and often irreverent writings laid an enduring foundation for many ideas that are now playing themselves out in art and literature.
In addition to Burroughs’ 1992 portfolio of texts and images, Seven Deadly Sins, the exhibition includes works by Jon Blumb, Brion Gysin, Keith Haring, Roger Holden, and Robert Mapplethorpe.
Some of the exhibited works have been seen in previous exhibitions at the Spencer, including the retrospective Ports of Entry: William S. Burroughs and the Arts (1996-97, organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and Brion Gysin: A selection of Books and Works on Paper (2005, organized by the Spencer Museum of Art).
We are grateful to the Estate of William S. Burroughs for their important loans to the exhibition.