Bernar Venet was born in Château-Arnoux-Saint-Auban, France in 1941. He moved to New York in 1961 and was part of the conceptual movement of the 60s and 70s.
Bernar Venet began his career when he coated canvas with tar and exhibited a mere pile of coal as a sculpture. After moving to New York in 1966, he discovered minimal art and applied its tenets to his own work, creating blueprints of tubes and reproducing mathematical drawings solely for their scientific meaning. In 1976, he continued his work with mathematical formulae again, but this time his paintings and sculptures took a formalist turn. He distilled the notion that randomness is mathematical into a series of Indeterminate Line sculptures, “doodling” them with no particular aesthetic agenda or predefined pattern. Then he moved on to sculptures comprised of segments of circles – Arcs - of varying lengths, the degrees of which both define and compose them. There is something striking about Bernar Venet’s corten steel arcs, both in their materiality and in the way in which they provide meaning for their surroundings. The line in all its variants – arcs, leaning arcs, vertical arcs, collapsed arcs and indeterminate lines, oblique lines – compose Venet’s vocabulary, which he uses to broach the issues that sculptures must address, namely the relationship with the body, with equilibrium, and with the environment.
Venet is the recipient of many awards including a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Grand Prix des Arts de la Ville de Paris, and Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, France's highest decoration. Venet’s sculptures are present in many of the world’s leading art collections including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, USA; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA.
In recent years, Venet continues to have extensive solo exhibitions throughout Europe, the United States, Asia and Oceania in solo museum shows: Angles, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, USA (2016); Happy Medium, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand (2016); metametria, Vass Collection, Budapest, Hungary (2015); Bernar Venet, Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti, Venice, Italy (2015); Bernar Venet, Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, South Korea (2014); Bernar Venet / Maquettes, Strandverket Art Museum, Stockholm (2014); 84 Arcs / Disorder, Jardins du Palais de Pharo, Marseille, France (2013); Bernar Venet: Paintings, Homage to Al-Khawarizmi, Abbazia di San Gregorio, Venice, Italy (2013); FLAT (with Frank Stella), Riff Art Projects, Istanbul, Turkey (2012); Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea (2011); Venet – Versailles, Château de Versailles, Château de Marly, France (2011); Ludwig Museum im Deutschherrehaus, Koblenz, Germany (2011).
Bernar Venet currenly lives and works between New York and Le Muy, France.