Bernar Venet (French, b. 1941)
Bernar Venet is a notable Conceptual artist who was born in Chateau-Arnoux, France. As a young boy, he was often sick with asthma, leaving him unable to be a normal child. With the help of a local artist, Venet began to explore art. By the age of 10, Venet was drawing and painting a great deal. From 1955 to 1958, he studied at Ecole Libre and Groupe Scolaire Paul Lapie; he then studied art in Nice, France, at La Villa Thiole. In 1959, Venet began working as a stage designer at Opera de Nice. At this time, Venet was painting highly stylized paintings. He joined the French Army in 1961, when he also began a style of tar art that he called his "fetichist works." He returned to Nice, France, in 1963 to open a studio to continue his tar art. Around this time, he also started to photograph coal and gravel piles, and sculpted his first sculpture, Coal Paile. In 1966, Venet made his first trip to New York City, where he was influenced by the Minimalist artwork he viewed in galleries. After returning to Nice, he began to work on mono-semiotic works and diagrams. He created Graduation, a ballet performed on a vertical surface. He later decided to move to New York City permanently.
After working on Conceptual and Minimalist pieces, in 1971, Venet decided to cease his artistic work. During his break from art, Venet traveled throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. In 1974, he taught art and art theory in Sorbonne, France. At this time, he often lectured throughout Europe. He returned to New York City in 1976, and began his first piece of the series titled Angles and Arcs. Through the late 1970s and early 1980s, Venet exhibited works such as Documenta VI and From Nature to Art. He also began sculpting at Atelier Marioni in France in 1984. As his sculpting continued, Venet was asked to help bring his ballet Graduationinto production at the Paris Opera in 1988. At this time, he took an interest in music as well. Throughout the 1990s, Venet composed various musical compositions, including Resonanceand Sound. In 2000, Venet exhibited his Major Equationsseries at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He continues to produce works in all media, including painting, prints, music, and sculptures, that are exhibited across the world.
Venet is included in museum collections including the Akron Art Institute, Ohio; the Guggenheim, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Musée D’art et D’histoire, Geneva, Switzerland and the Fond D’art Contemporain Des Musées De Nice, France among many others.