Michael Glier began his undergraduate career as a psychology major, then turned to art, studying at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1975 and earning a B.A. from Williams College in 1976 and an M.A. from Hunter College, New York in 1979. Between his undergraduate and graduate degrees, he participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art independent study program (1977).
Glier's first works were abstract wood constructions, explorations of color and form. Wanting to move beyond a formal approach, however, and searching for a way to express social and political concerns in his art, he abandoned sculpture and took up drawing. He first made chalk drawings on his studio walls that he would photograph, then erase, drawing again on the same wall dozens of times. Glier has executed posters for the benefit of specific political causes and has participated, for example, in such efforts as Artists Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America (1984). He was also a member of the politically active Collaborative Projects, Inc.
Glier teaches at Williams College. His articles on art and related subjects have appeared in Artforum. His White Male Power drawings were featured in the 1982 issue of The Paris Review. His artist's books, The Senator Swears (1981); Waiting for Something Dreadful (1980); White Male Power: Senators, Gameshow Hosts, National Monuments, Clergy, etc. (1981), and Satisfaction (1989), also address political and social issues. In addition to his work at Graphicstudio, Glier has produced lithographs at the Art Institute of Chicago's Summer Program at Lake Michigan (1983).
Glier's first solo exhibition was an installation at The Kitchen, New York: Training for Leisure: A Public Display of Collapsed Desire Designed for the Next World's Fair. (1980). His drawings, wall drawings and installations have since been featured in one-man exhibitions at the N.A.M.E. Gallery, Chicago (1982), La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art (1983), Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University (1986), Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (1986), Museum of Modern Art, New York (1987), Williams College Museum of Art (1987), San Jose Museum of Art (1989), and Addison Gallery, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts (1990). His work has also been shown at the American Graffiti Gallery in Amsterdam (1981, 1983), and at the Galerie Tanja Grunert in Cologne (1986). (Fine/Corlett 1991, 178)