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Wiley blends art, politics

When he was a boy in Bedford, Indiana, William T. Wiley liked to lie on the floor, listen to the radio and draw.

In his 76th year, Wiley is still doing it, “But I’m standing up a lot more now,” he said last week as he installed a full-scale mock-up of a wall from his Woodacre studio at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.

One of America’s most celebrated contemporary artists, and a dean of the California art scene, Wiley attacks serious subjects with gentle glee and a compulsive punster’s sense of humor.

His works are profoundly political but without polemics, and are almost always wryly amusing. As is he.

Ask him what he prefers to be called, he answers, “William, Bill, some people just call me Wiley, but I prefer to be called to dinner.”

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