Billy Sullivan (American, b.1946) was born in Brooklyn, NY, and studied at the New York High School of Art and Design, from which he graduated in 1964. He then attended the School of Visual Arts (also in New York), graduating in 1968. In 1988, he was awarded a degree in English Literature and Painting from Georgetown University, WA. Although Sullivan is best known for his portraits and still-lifes created with oils, pastels, and ink, he is also a renowned photographer who has been capturing images of life in New York, and of his own family and friends, since his teenage years. He began exploring photography professionally in 2002, and his later exhibitions incorporate photographic elements alongside his paintings.

Citing Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) as a creative influence, Sullivan has expressed particular admiration for Warhol's portrait work and his disaster paintings. Like Warhol, Sullivan often uses photography as a basis for creating paintings. His first major work, Das Blaue Auto, was created over the course of a decade, using mixed media and text, and it charted the development of a fictional European Art movement. Sullivan began incorporating photographs into his professional work with the project 3Situations (More Turns, Stop Down and Time Port), which was completed in 2007.

Sullivan went on to develope his interest in contrast and the means by which artists can use the power of contrast to generate emotional responses in the viewer. This has led him to study the history of black-and-white photography, and, in particular, the works of photographers such as Weegee, also known as Arthur Fellig (American, 1899–1968), and Daido Moriyama (Japanese, b.1938). Sullivan continues to exhibit internationally, with shows including Still, Looking, Kaufman Repetto, Milan, Italy, and Now & Then Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO, both of which took place in 2011. His permanent representation is the Sasha Wolf Gallery in New York.

Timeline

1946
Born in New York City, New York
1964
High School of Art and Design, New York, NY
1968
School of Visual Arts, New York, NY
1987
National Endowment for the Arts
1999
Professor of Fine Art, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
2003
Professor of Fine Art, New York University, New York, NY
Lives and works in New York City
1999–pres
Professor of Fine Art, School of Visual Art, New York, NY

Exhibitions

2009
Portraits: Linda Gall, Laura Sanders, and Billy Sullivan, Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, OH, May 10 – June 19, 2009
2009
Galerie Sabine Kunst, Munich, Germany (solo)
2009
Conversations, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2008
Texas Gallery, Houston, Texas (solo)
2008
Listen Darling…The World is Yours, curated by Lisa Phillips, Ellipse Foundation, Cascais, Portugal
2008
The Annual Hamptons Show, curated by Klaus Kertess, The Fireplace Project, East Hampton, NY, June 6 – June 16, 2008
2008
Regen Projects, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
2007
Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY
2007
Galleria Francesa Kaufman, Milan, Italy
2007
NeoIntegrity, Derek Eller Gallery, New York, NY, Organized by Keith Mayerson
2007
Tease, Mireille Mosler Ltd., New York, NY
2007
Sex & Sensuality, Salomon Contemporary, East Hampton, NY
2006
The Food Show: The Hungry Eye, Chelsea Art Museum, New York, NY, Curated by Robert Edelman and Gina Fiore
2006
Likeness, Geoffrey Young Gallery, Great Barrington, MA
2006
Open House, Ellipse Foundation Contemporary Art Collection, Centro Cultural de Cascais, Portugal
2006
The name of this show is not GAY ART NOW, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY, Curated by Jack Pierson
2006
Friends, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York, NY
2006
Whitney Biennial: Day for Night, curators: Chrissie Iles, Phillipe Vergne, Whitney Museum of American Art, NY
2005
Paper, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York
2005
Francesa Kaufman, Milan, Italy
2004
Aspen Portrait, Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO
2004
Beginning Here: 101 Ways, Visual Arts Gallery, New York, NY
2004
North Fork/ South Fork, East End Art Now, Parrish Art Museum, East Hampton, NY
2004
On Paper, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York
2004
Ideale e Realta: Una storia del nudo dal Neoclassicismo ad oggi, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna, Italy
2003
Regen Projects, Los Angles, CA
2003
Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York, NY
2002
Photographs 1969-2002, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York, NY
2001
Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, OH
2001
Fischbach Gallery, New York, NY
2001
Sex-vom Wissen und Wunschen, Stiftung Deutsches Hyginene Museum, Dresden, Germany
2001
Happiness, Presenca Galleria, Portugal
2001
Rocks and Trees, Photographic Resource Center at Boston University, MA
2000
Still Life, Carpenter Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
2000
O O, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, NY
2000
Judy Ann Goldman Fine Art Boston, MA
1999
Couples, Cheim Read New York, NY
1999
Writers, Models, and Still Life, Fischbach Gallery New York, NY
1999
Texas Gallery Houston, TX
1999
Everything- Never Enough, Galerie Aurel Scheibler Köln, Germany
1999
View from the Edge of the World: Landscape Photography, Marlborough Chelsea New York, NY
1998
Pet Shop, Nicholas Davies Gallery New York, NY
1998
Summer, Lennon Weinberg, NY
1998
Augenlust, Kunsthaus Hannover Hannover, Germany
1998
Drawn from Life: Contemporary Interpretive Landscape, Sewall Art Gallery, Rice University Houston, TX
1997
Private Worlds: 200 Years of American Still Life Painting cur. Julia Augr and Ann Daley, Aspen Art Museum Aspen, CO
1997
, Regen Projects Los Angeles, CA
1996
The Back Room, Allez les Filles Columbus, OH
1995–1996
Face Value: American Portraits cur by Donna De Salvo (travelling exhibition), The Parrish Museum; Wexner Center; Musuem of Arts Southampton, NY; Columbus, OH; Tampa, FL
1995
Inaugural Exhibition, Paul Morris Gallery New York, NY
1994
Stux Gallery New York, NY
1993
Drawing the Line Against AIDS, , Guggenheim Museum SoHo New York, NY
1992
Slow Art, curated by Alanna Heiss, Institute of Contemporary Art, P.S.1 Museum, Long Island City, NY
1991
An Artist in the Garden, The National Academy of Design New York, NY
1990
Festivals and Festivities, Lehman College Art Gallery, The City University of New York, NY
1989
The Scarf, exhibit and auction to benefit DIFFA, Bergdorf Goodman, New York, NY
1989
Collector’s Gallery XXII, Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX
1988
The Art of Music, The Bronx Museum of the Arts Bronx, NY
1987
Portraits, Ginza Art Space, Tokyo, Japan
1987
Major Works in Small Format, Lever/Meyerson Galleries, Ltd., New York, NY
1986
Fischbach Gallery New York, NY
1985
Holly Solomon Gallery New York, NY
1985
The New Portrait, PS1 Long Island City, NY
1984
The American Still Life, Contemporary Arts Center Houston, TX
1984
Stamford Museum and Nature Center Art-Ex Gallery Stamford, CT
1983
Roger Ramsay Gallery Chicago, IL
1982
Galerie Alain Blondel Paris, France
1981
New Dimensions in Drawing, , Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art Ridgefield, CT
1980
Still Life: A Selection of Contemporary Paintings, Kent State and Tangeman Fine Art Gallery, OH
1979
American Watercolor, Mitchell Museum Mt. Vernon IL and Cedar Rapids Art Cedar Rapids, IO
1979
, Kornblee Gallery New York, NY
1978
Artists' Postcards, Cooper-Hewitt Museum New York, NY
1978
Body Language, New Gallery, Schacht Fine Arts Center, Russel Sage
1976
Duffy and Sons New York
1974
Contact Graphics, Texas Gallery Houston, TX