William T. Wiley challenged the boundaries of the visual arts, producing an incredibly prolific body of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and films. He was beloved by his students as an influential teacher, by his fellow artists as a philosopher of art and process, and by devotees and collectors for his innovation, humor, message, and visual power of his art, Wiley stands as an artist whose works defy categorization within the confines of artistic movements. He was a trailblazer and model for the individualistic artistic explorations of contemporary artists today.
In late 1968, Wiley acknowledged that while the New York art scene was indeed important, he preferred the informality of the San Francisco Bay Area. He spent most of his career living and working in California and is acknowledged as a seminal figure in contemporary American art and in the development, vibrancy, and importance of the Bay Area art scene. The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC mounted a massive retrospective of his work in 2009. His work has been widely exhibited throughout California and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art holds a significant collection of his work. His work has also been shown at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Fondazione Marconi in Milan; Frankfurter Kunstverein in Germany: the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam