Ward Shelley works as an artist in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in large projects that freely mix sculpture and performance. Utilizing eclectic influences and a variety of media, Shelley's installations defy classification. Over the last five years, Shelley has concentrated on bizarre functioning architectural pieces in which he lives and works during the exhibition monitored with live surveillance video equipment.
Shelley also works on a series of diagramatic paintings, timelines of art-related subjects such as the careers of artists working in de-materialized media and the history of art scenes. The best known of these is the Williamsburg Timeline Drawing and Downtown Body, recently published in Bomb Magazine.
He first exhibited as an artist in Miami. He earned his Masters degree from NYU and has been working and showing in New York since then. He moved his studio to Williamsburg in 1994 and also began exhibiting in Europe at that time.
Shelley has exhibited in more than 10 countries. Among works from the last 10 years are the interactive video-environment "the Cube", the legendary Mir 2 Project, and the Voyage Platform. In 2004 Shelley lived and worked inside the walls of Pierogi Gallery for 5 weeks for an exhibition called "We have mice". Shelley also works with the collaborative artist group BBS and talented young artists such as Douglas Paulson and Alex Schweder with whom he realized the monumentalFlatland project at New York's SculptureCenter in 2007.
Ward Shelley's work is in a number of museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Art Museum, and The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. Last year Shelley received a painting and Sculpture award from the Joan Mitchell foundation, and has been a fellow of the American Academy in Rome since 2006. He has received NYFA and NEA fellowships in sculpture and new media categories, a Bessie Award for installation art, as well as private foundation grants from the Jerome Foundation and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. He is represented by Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn, New York.
Before and during his art career he has also worked in advertising, construction, teaching, special events, theater, rock bands, and built a 37-foot sailing sloop.