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BERNAR VENET

Bernar Venet, 88.5° Arc x 8, 2012. Cor-ten steel. Height: 27 meters (88.5 feet). Permanent installation: The Farm, New Zealand. Photo credit: David Hartley, New Zealand.
Born in 1941 in the south of France, Venet’s attraction to art became evident at an early age. At 17, Venet moved to Nice to work as a theatre set designer at the Opéra de Nice before dedicating his entire activity to making art.

In 1966, Venet established himself in New York where, over the course of the next five decades, he explored painting, poetry, film, and performance, and was attracted, in particular, to pure science as a subject for art. During the 1960s, Venet developed his tar paintings, Reliefs cartons, and his iconic Tas de charbon (Pile of Coal), the first sculpture without a specific shape. 1979 marked a turning point in Venet’s career, when he began a series of wood reliefs, Arcs, Angles, Straight Lines, and created the first of his Indeterminate Lines. That same year, he was awarded a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In 1994, Jacques Chirac, the then Mayor of Paris, invited Venet to present twelve sculptures from his Indeterminate Line series on the Champs de Mars, which afterwards developed into a world tour. Venet is the most internationally-exhibited French artist and, to date, the number of Venet’s public sculpture exhibitions amounts to no less than 30. In 2011, Bernar Venet become only the 4th contemporary artist to be offered the grounds of the world-renowned Château de Versailles in France for a solo exhibition of 7 monumental sculptures, and the French Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp of his 22-meter vertical Arcs framing the iconic statue of Louis XIV at the entrance.

Monographs in multiple languages have been published on the artist’s oeuvre, with texts by noted art historians Barbara Rose, Donald Kuspit, Carter Ratcliff, Thomas McEvilley, Jan van der Marck, Thierry Lenain, and Achille Bonito Oliva, among others. His work can be found in more than 60 museums worldwide, including such venerable institutions as The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Centre Pompidou, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Bernar Venet has also received commissions for sculptures permanently installed in Auckland, Austin, Bergen, Berlin, Denver, Paris, Neu-Ulm, Nice, Norfolk, Seoul, Shenzhen, Tokyo, and Toulouse.

Venet had his first retrospective at the New York Cultural Center on Columbus Circle in New York in 1971. Contributions to major art events such as the Kassel Documenta VI in 1977, and the Biennales of Paris, Venice and Sao Paulo, followed. Venet has presented major retrospective exhibitions at the Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst in Duisburg and Kunsthalle Darmstadt in Germany, in South Korea at The National Museum of Contemporary Art (Seoul), the Busan Museum of Modern Art, and the Seoul Museum of Art, at the Institut d'Art Valenciá Moderne (IVAM) in Valencia, Spain, and at the Mücsarnok Museum, in Budapest, Hungary. In 2008, Sotheby’s invited Venet to present 25 large-scale sculptures on the grounds of Isleworth, near Orlando, Florida, their first venture to exhibit and support a single sculptor on this scale.

Venet has been the recipient of several distinguishing honors, including France’s Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur. Most recently, he received the 2013 International Julio González Sculpture Prize. Inaugurated in July 2014, the Venet Foundation aims to preserve the site in Le Muy, France, conserve the collection, and ensure that Bernar Venet’s work lives on after him.

Visit the artist's website to learn more, www.bernarvenet.com.


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