1936, Bronx, New York City, United States
Robert Barry is an American artist best known for his Conceptual works. He focuses on the transitional and impermanent aspects of space in art, along with the people surrounding, reacting to, and artists rather than the objects themselves. Born in 1936 in the Bronx, NY, Robert Barry, studied Fine Art as an undergraduate at Hunter’s College of the City University of New York, graduating in 1963. He earned his MA from the same school. In 1974, Barry moved to Teaneck, New Jersey. He gave up painting, and began making art using invisible media, including electromagnetic energy, ultrasonic radiation, and inert gases.
He describes his art as affecting other things as much as it is affected by those things. He also began incorporating text into his artworks, aiming to make the viewer a part of his pieces. For his “word list” installations, Barry imprints capitalized words directly on walls or surfaces to evoke narrative and inspire contemplation. Barry encourages free association of meaning to his work. In 2007, an installation entitled “Art and War” included large words such as DOUBT, WITHOUT, and DESPERATE placed at random angles on the walls of a residential space. The title of the piece references Sun Tzu’s famous Taoist text, The Art of War, the chosen words a reflection on language, time, and human nature.
Even though, Barry has proven himself to be a prolific artist. In 2011 alone, he was part of 15 group exhibitions and four solo exhibitions, most of which were in Europe. His work can be found in the permanent collections of renowned museums including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Musée National D’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
Robert Barry currently lives and works in Teaneck, New Jersey.