Shirley Irons was born outside of Pittsburgh, Pa., grew up in Staten Island, and moved to Manhattan after a very quick marriage. She attended school part-time at the Fashion Institute of New York and a now-defunct art school above Yamaha Pianos on 56th Street. She graduated from Parsons School of Design/The New School for Social Research in 1976. She worked for Barbara Gladstone Gallery in the early 80’s, co-founded a seminar series at White Columns in the early 90’s, and has taught painting at Cal Arts, SUNY Purchase, NYU and SVA, where she continues to teach.
Irons’ work has been shown internationally and has been part of group shows at Pera Museum, Istanbul; McDonough Museum, Youngstown, Ohio, Islip Museum, Long Island; Rosamund Felson Gallery, Santa Monica; and in New York City at Murray Guy, Postmasters, Caren Golden Gallery, Patrick Callery, Alexander Bonin, Emily Harvey Gallery, Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College, the Clocktower, P. S. 1 and Threadwaxing Space. NYC. She has had solo exhibitions at White Columns, The Queens Museum, Tyler Gallery at Temple University, Staniar Gallery at Washington and Lee University, and Luisotti Gallery, Santa Monica, where she is represented.
Her work has been written about in the LA Times, New York Times, Art Papers, Art Monthly, Time Out, Flash Art, Bomb, Acme, among others, and she was profiled in The New Yorker Talk of the Town. She lives and works in Manhattan where she writes about herself in the 3rd person.