Alexander Iolas (1907–1987) was a Greek art dealer from Alexandria active in New York and many European cities from the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s. He had close connections to the surrealists and the artists associated with nouveau réalisme, as well as to such American artists as Ed Ruscha, Harold Stevenson, and Paul Thek. In 1982, William E. Jones visited Iolas and took photographs of many of Villa Iolas’s rooms in detail. He recently found fifty of these pictures and decided to use them as a starting point for a new book. Villa Iolas still exists, but it is now a ruin. After Iolas’s death in 1987, the art the villa contained disappeared, and the place was extensively vandalized. The pictures Jones has rediscovered will be accompanied by a first person memoir of Iolas. These memories will be supplemented by oral history interviews with Iolas’s heirs, friends, and associates.
William E. Jones has made two feature-length experimental films, Massillon and Finished, which won a Los Angeles Film Critics Association award, the documentary Is It Really So Strange?, and dozens of videos, including The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography. His work has been the subject of retrospectives at the Tate Modern, Anthology Film Archives, the Austrian Film Museum, and the Oberhausen Short Film Festival; and has been exhibited at Musée du Louvre, Palais de Tokyo, Museum für Moderne Kunst, the Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center, the Carnegie Museum of Art, St. Louis Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. He is the author of numerous books, including Is It Really So Strange?, Tearoom, Heliogabalus, Selections from The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton, “Killed”: Rejected Images of the Farm Security Administration, Halsted Plays Himself, Between Artists: Thom Andersen and William E. Jones, and Imitation of Christ, which was named one of the best photo books of 2013 by Time magazine, Flesh and the Cosmos, and the forthcoming True Homosexual Experiences: Boyd McDonald and Straight to Hell. His writing has appeared in Artforum, Bidoun, Butt, frieze, Little Joe, Mousse, and the White Review. Jones has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Foundation for Contemporary Art Grant, a City of Los Angeles (COLA) Grant, and a California Community Foundation Fellowship.