Marioni himself became prominent as a conceptualist performer after leaving his curatorial job in Richmond. His first show at the Richmond Art Center in 1968 had comprised conventional minimalist sculpture fashioned mostly of colored lucite, but shortly after he became the Center's curator and an alter- ego conceptualist named "Alan Fish" began to take part in many of the group shows that Marioni organized. Birds in Flight, included in the Return of Abstract Expressionism exhibit, consisted of a packet of multicolored construction paper, with instructions for the viewer to crumple the papers one by one and throw them at the wall. In addition to flight, a favorite theme of Fish's was drinking beer. In 1970, after drinking beer all afternoon, he stood on a stepladder and urinated into a galvanized tub (which changed in pitch as the water level rose): the Piss Piece was part of an exhibition of Sound Sculpture as his Museum of Conceptual Art. p. 196
In The Sound of Flight, at the de Young Museum in 1977, Marioni displayed "drawings" produced from the ritualistic motion across sheets of paper of drum brushes dipped in gold dust, an action which he solemnly performed throughout the exhibition in a gallery next door. He compared his art with "modern prayer," and said: "I am trying to communicate in a primitive way through the drum, which is my drawing board. These are the sounds and rhythms of my pulse and breathing. I want to make a picture with these sounds, a psychic picture. As I rub on this paper with the drum brushes, an image slowly appears: a landscape." p. 197-98.
For the Sound Sculpture show, Paul Kos used $10,000 worth of sound equipment to record the melting of two 25-pound blocks of ice. p. 198.
Tom Marioni (1937-), conceptualist sculptor and performance artist. Born in Cincinnati: attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music 1954-55 and the Cincinnati Art Academy 1955-59: came to San Francisco in 1959. Founded and director of the Museum of Conceptual Art which opened in 1973. p. 296.