Robert Barry

American conceptual artist Robert Barry was born in the Bronx in 1936, and grew up visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art with his father, an electrical engineer. While attending Hunter College, Barry enjoyed art classes and eventually went on to major in art, and continuing his graduate studies under Robert Motherwell at Hunter after a two-year army stint. Barry began primarily as a painter working in abstract styles, but eventually worked in sculpture, performance, installation, and conceptual art. For many years in the 60s, his work focused on the study of the physical space of the gallery, moving to using invisible materials such as inert gases and electromagnetic waves, and in the case of Telepathy (1969), his own mental powers to transmit an artwork telepathically into the exhibition space. These minimalist attempts to de-materialize art abated when he realized that even those materials had measurable physicality, and his work turned to text-based pieces, including some sound pieces in which he played tape loops repeating a specific word in the gallery space, between longs intervals of silence. He is now known mainly for his graphic text-based visual art. After teaching for many years at Hunter College, Barry has since worked as a visiting lecturer and teacher internationally. His work held in collections around the world, including the Guggenheim Museum (New York), MoMA (New York), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Kunstmuseum Basel (Switzerland), Center Georges Pompidou (Paris), Sammlung Ludwig Collection (Cologne), and Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles).