Mason Williams

decade

1930s

1938

Mason Williams is born in Abilene, Texas.

decade

1940s

1940s 1945

Mason Williams grows up dividing his time between living with his father in Oklahoma City and his mother in Oregon.

decade

1950s

1956

After graduating high school, childhood friends Ed Ruscha and Mason Williams head to California on historic Route 66 in a 1950 Ford sedan.

1956

Ed Ruscha and Mason Williams share a room at Mrs. Steer’s Boarding House near downtown Los Angeles.

1956

Mason Williams graduates high school in Oklahoma City.

1956

Mason Williams attends Los Angeles City College but quits his major in math after spending more time at jazz clubs than studying. He decides to become a musician.

1957

Mason Williams moves back to Oklahoma to major in music at Oklahoma City University.

1959

Group oral history interview conducted by Andrew Perchuck and Rani Singh, featuring Jerry McMillan, Ed Ruscha, and Mason Williams, Jan 23, 2007. Part of "Modern Art in Los Angeles : Okies go west," Getty Research Institute, 2007.

decade

1960s

1964

Jerry McMillan, Mason Williams, Sunrise, Downtown Los Angeles, 1964. Gelatin silver print; 8 × 10 in. (20.3 × 25.4 cm). Courtesy of Jerry McMillan and Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica.

1964

After leaving the Navy in 1963, Mason Williams returns to Los Angeles and lives with Ed Ruscha.

1964

Mason Williams occasionally helps Ed Ruscha lay out Artforum.

1967

Ed Ruscha, Mason Williams, and Patrick Blackwell, Royal Road Test, 1980. Offset printing; spiral bound with color card-stock. 3 copies: 9 9/16 × 6 ½ in (24.2 × 16.5 cm), 60 pp. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, National Endowment for the Arts Purchase Grant and gift of the MCA Men’s Council, 2012.94. © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

1967

Patrick Blackwell, Ed Ruscha, and Mason Williams turn what they called a “caper”—improvised actions or “goofy things,” in Williams’s words—into an artist book called Royal Road Test, which documents the remains of a typewriter hurled out of their car.

1968

Ed Ruscha designs an album cover for Mason Williams.

1969

Jerry McMillan, Spontaneous Happening in Jerry’s Studio. Mason Williams, Thelma Camacho, Ed Ruscha, and Jerry McMillan, 1969. Gelatin silver print; 8 × 10 in. (20.3 × 25.4 cm). Courtesy of Jerry McMillan and Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica.

1969

Ed Ruscha and Mason Williams collaborate on the artists’ book Crackers.

decade

1980s

1980

Ed Ruscha, Mason Williams, and Patrick Blackwell, Royal Road Test, 1980. Offset printing; spiral bound with color card-stock. 3 copies: 9 9/16 × 6 ½ in (24.2 × 16.5 cm), 60 pp. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, National Endowment for the Arts Purchase Grant and gift of the MCA Men’s Council, 2012.94. © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

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