Will Insley in his apartment with structural models

"If there are wall fragments, there must be buildings; if buildings – a city, if a city – a civilization, if a civilization – a religion; — all the ingredients to form a mythological context"

– Will Insley

Will Insley, born on October 15, 1929,  was an American abstract artist who devoted 50 years to creating paintings, drawings, writing, models and photomontages established on his theory of a visionary city entitled ONECITY. Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, his artwork has been exhibited in various national and international museums, including solo exhibitions at both the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He also partook in Documenta 5 and 6.

In 1951, Insley received his bachelors’ degree from Amherst College, Cambridge, MA. He then went on to Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and received an M.A. in Architecture in 1955.  After serving in the U.S. Army for a couple of years employing his architectural skills for mapping projects, Insley moved to New York City in the 1950’s and found work as a file clerk for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s photography department, which was a position he held from 1959 to 1966. Additionally, he was the recipient of the 1966 National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities award. Three years later, he was awarded a 1969 Guggenheim Fellowship. At this point Insley also started teaching at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, until his retirement in 2008. In 1994 he received a Gottlieb Foundation Grant for his innovative work on ONECITY.

Will Insley passed away in a hospital in New York City August 12th, 2011. His artwork is in the collection of Brooklyn Museum of Art, Smithsonian Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art, North Carolina Museum of Art, Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and many others.


Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1976