Bill Barrett (Los Angeles, California 1934 -)

Exhibited by



Bill Barrett (born December 21, 1934) is an American sculptor, painter and jeweller. He is considered a central figure in the second generation of American metal sculptors and is internationally known for his abstract sculptures in steel, aluminum and bronze.

Barrett began welding while a student at the University of Michigan. His early works consisted of steel rods, joined together to create open, three-dimensional drawings. For subsequent sculptures, he filled in the negative space between the rods with molten metal and steel plates. From here, Barrett developed a technique of cutting steel sheets into rectangular shapes and forming the shapes into three-dimensional blocks or cylindrical forms. He also explored the surface of steel, grinding or brushing the surface to give his finished work texture. Barrett later painted his steel sculptures to prevent the final pieces from rusting.

Barrett's work with aluminum began in the 1960s. These sculptures were composed of flat, horizontal shapes; their surfaces were bright and clean. They suggested Minimalist sculpture and the work of Tony Smith.

In 1982, Barrett was commissioned for the City of New York through Percent for Art to create his largest sculpture to date, "Hari IV" (28' x 32' x 16'), for New Dorp High School on Staten Island. Keeping contemporary culture in mind, Barrett's title for this work comes from a graffiti "tag" that was appearing on New York City Subway cars at the time. The work was well received by the students, earning the nickname "the elephant". It became the high school's symbol, being used on the yearbook cover and adorning the football team's helmets. The New York Times critic Michael Brenson called this sculpture " one of the most successful public sculptures in the city." In 1986, Barrett was commissioned for the state of Connecticut for the Criminal Courts Building in Hartford, CT to create "Guardian", a fabricated aluminum sculpture that stands 15 feet tall.

Barrett started working with bronze as a way to explore increasingly fluid and gestural forms. As his interest in expressive forms grew, Barrett found that wax gave him the creative freedom to model shapes. He created a technique of pouring wax into a baking tin, drawing the shapes in the wax, and then combining the shapes to create a model, twisting and carving away at each shape by hand. The most successful models were cast into bronze and the bronze maquettes were then fabricated into larger bronze sculptures. From the '90s on, Barrett's bronze works took on a free-flowing quality that suggested calligraphy, movement, dance and music. Several sculptures from this decade refer directly to dance. In May 2011, Barrett installed a bronze sculpture in New York City's Tribeca neighborhood, for temporary display, as a memorial to September 11, 2001. In addition, the artist's small sculpture "Lexeme VII" is part of the 911 Memorial and Museum's permanent collection in New York City.

Inspired by the light and colors of New Mexico, and by Arshile Gorky, Fernand Léger, and Jean Arp, Barrett began painting in 1992. His vibrant paintings quickly became an important part of his entire creative process—they complemented and influenced the free-flowing feel of his sculptures. Drawing—rhythmic contours and marks—maintained a central role in the creation of his paintings and sculptures.

Since 1992, Barrett has had a number of solo exhibitions, featuring both painting and sculpture. In 2010 Barrett exhibited paintings and sculptures in two separate shows: Polyphonic Abstractions: Painting and Maquettes by Bill Barrett at the Christian Petersen Art Museum at Iowa State University, and Synchronicity at Kouros Gallery in New York City.


“Abstract art is like music in that when you listen to a song, everyone has different ideas about it, feels different emotions because of it. Even the same person listening to a piece at different times will feel differently. That’s true of abstract art. As a viewer, you can interpret it for yourself as well as seeing what the artist made. That’s what I like about abstract art: you get a chance to participate.”



2017 Action Abstraction, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
2016 The Bronze Touch, Taylor Graham, New York
2016 Santa Fe Botanical Gardens, Santa Fe, NM
2015 Emanations in Bronze, LewAllen Gallery, Railyard, Santa Fe, NM
2015 Inquire Within: Paintings and Sculptures by Bill Barrett, Reading Public Museum, Reading, PA
2012 Bill Barrett: DNA, LewAllen Galleries, Railyard, Santa Fe, NM
2012 Bill Barrett: Sculpture and Paintings, Elaine Baker Gallery, Boca Raton, FL
2011 Paintings and Sculptures, Kouros Gallery, New York
2010 Polyphonic Abstractions, Painting and Maquette Survey, Iowa State University, Christian
Petersen Art Museum, Ames, IA
2010 Synchronicity, Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, Kouros Gallery, New York
2008 Exquisite Balance, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
2008 Drawing Exhibition, Michigan State University, College of Arts and Letters, Kresge Art Center, East Lansing, MI
2008 Divertimentos in Bronze, LewAllen Contemporary, Railyard, Santa Fe, NM
2008 Kouros Gallery, New York
2007 Bentley Projects, Phoenix, Arizona
2006 Kouros Gallery, New York
2005 Connexus, LewAllen Contemporary Art, Railyard, Santa Fe, NM
2004 Elaine Baker Gallery, Boca Raton, FL
2002 Bronze: Patterns and Color, Century Association, New York
2002 Ira Wolk Gallery, St. Helena, CA
2001 Kouros Gallery, New York
2001 McCormick Works of Art, Chicago
2001 Cline Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
2000 Bill Barrett: Sculpture and Painting, Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ
2000 J. J. Brookings Gallery, San Francisco
1999 Harris Gallery, Houston
1998 J. J. Brookings Gallery, San Francisco
1998 Nardin Gallery, 57th and Madison Avenue, New York
1996 J.J. Brookings Gallery, San Francisco
1996 Kouros Gallery, New York
1996 Cline Fine Art, Santa Fe
1995 Mongerson – Wunderlich Gallery, Chicago
1995 Roswitha Benkert Galerie, Zurich
1994 Kouros Gallery, New York
1993 Cline Fine Art, Santa Fe
1990 Shidoni Contemporary Gallery, Tesuque, NM1990 Galerie Roswitha Benkert, Zurich
1986 Kouros Gallery, New York
1986 Galerie Roswitha Benkert, Zurich
1985 Bellevue Hospital Sculpture Garden, New York
1985 Kouros Gallery, New York
1983 Sculpture Center, New York
1976 Brooklyn Borough Hall, Brooklyn
1976 City University of New York, Graduate Mall, New York
1975 County Executive Buildings, White Plains, NY
1974 Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY
1974 Katonah Art Gallery, New York
1973 James Yu Gallery, New York
1972 Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY
1971 Lantern Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI
1970 Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY
1969 Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY
1969 10 Downtown Show, New York
1967 Jason Gallery, New York
1966 Kalamazoo Art Center, Kalamazoo, MI
1965 Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI
1964 Hanamura Galleries, Detroit, MI


2012 Comune di Pontedera, Pontedera, Italy
2011 Friends of Finn Square in Tribeca, City of New York and NYC Parks and Recreation Department present, 9/11 MEMORIAL SCULPTURE
2009 20 Bildhauer–20 Skulpturen, Villa Haiss Museum, Zell a.H., Germany
2007 Los Angeles Art Show, LewAllen Contemporary, Barker Hangar, Santa Monica, CA
2005 U.S. Embassy Residence in Vatican City, The Holy See
2004 LewAllen Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM
2003 Elaine Baker Gallery, Boca Raton, FL
2003 LewAllen Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM
2003 Eckert Fine Art Gallery, Naples, FL
2001 Ford Park Sculpture Exhibition, Art in Public Places Program, Vail, CO
2001 30th Anniversary Invitational Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, Shidoni Gallery, Tesuque, NM
2000 Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2000 Sculpture 2000 International, New London, CT
2000 ALVA Gallery, New London, CT
2000 Euro Galleries, Minneapolis, MN
2000 McCormick Works of Art, Navy Pier Expo, Chicago
1999 Benson Gallery, East Hampton, NY
1999 The Sculpture Center, Cleveland, OH
1999 Quietude Garden Gallery, East Brunswick, NJ
1998 Albright College Center For The Arts, Freedman Gallery, Reading, PA
1997 Thomas McCormick Works of Art, Chicago
1997 Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, College of Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM
1996 Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ
1996 Friends of Contemporary Art, Lewallen Galleries, Santa Fe, NM
1996 Armory Show, Kouros Gallery, New York
1996 Bologna-Landi Gallery, East Hampton, NY
1996 Outdoor Installation, West Broadway and Varick Street, New York
1995 Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, TN
1995 Mongerson-Wunderlich Gallery, Chicago
1995 La Quinta Sculpture Garden, La Quinta, CA
1994 Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
1994 Turner-Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
1994 Benkert Gallery, Zurich
1994 Philadelphia Expo, Philadelphia, PA
1994 Eve Mannes Gallery, Atlanta, GA
1992 Kyoto Gallery, Kyoto, Japan
1992 1st Alabama Biennial, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
1991 Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM
1991 Kouros Gallery, Outdoor Sculpture Garden, Ridgefield, CT
1990 Tokyo Expo, Nina Owen, Ltd., Chicago
1990 Sculpture Tour, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, TN
1989 International Contemporary Art Fair, Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA
1989 Flat Iron Gallery, New York
1989 Basel Expo, Basel, Switzerland
1989 Cavalier Gallery, Stamford, CT
1989 Food Center Sculpture Park at Hunts Point, Bronx
1988 Ruth Vared Gallery, East Hampton, NY
1988 The Romanek Sculpture Garden, Chicago, IL
1988 Hudson River Museum, Sculptor’s Guild, Yonkers, NY
1987 Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY
1987 Schulman Sculpture Garden, White Plains, NY
1986 Guild Hall Museum, Easthampton, NY
1986 Shidoni Contemporary Gallery and Sculpture Garden, Tesuque, NM
1984 Snug Harbor Museum, Staten Island, NY
1983 Sid Deutsch Gallery, New York, NY
1983 Phoenix Botanical Gardens, Phoenix, AZ
1982 The Great Garden Sculpture Show, Sculptural Arts Museum, Atlanta, GA
1982 International Sculpture Conference, Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA
1981 Botanical Gardens (outdoor show, Sculptor’s Guild), Bronx, NY
1981 Sculpture Center, Sixty-Ninth Street, New York
1980 Area, Washington, DC
1980 Area, Wards Island, NY
1978 American Mission Building, United Nations, New York
1978 Lincoln Center, New York
1978 Martha Jackson Gallery, New York
1978 Alexander Milliken Gallery, New York
1978 Foley Square, New York
1978 PS 1, Long Island City, NY
1978 Art Train, Michigan Art Train, Inc.
1975 The Society of the Four Arts Sculpture Competition, New York Cultural Center, New York
1975 Storm King Art Center, Sculpture in the Fields, Mountainville, NY
1974 Large Outdoor Sculpture Show, Bach Festival, Bethlehem, PA
1974 Sculpture III, World Trade Center, Pratt Institute & LaGuardia Airport, New York
1972 Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York
1970 University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
1970 Whitney Museum Sculpture Annual, New York
1966 University of the South, Sewanee, TN
1964 The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
1964 The Bundy Art Gallery, Waitsfield, VT
1963 The San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco
1963 The Detroit Institute of Arts Show, Detroit
1959 Father/Son, Indiana Art Center, South Bend, IN


1615 L. Street, Washington, DC
2001 K. Street, Washington, DC
Belz Enterprises, Memphis, TN
Best Products Corporation, Richmond, VA
Bishop Ranch, San Ramon, CA
Brandywine Realty and Trust, Austin, TX
The Corinthian Building, New York
Dell Foundation, Austin, TX
Eighty One Mainstreet Associates, White Plains, NY
Garden Communities, La Jolla, CA
Hitachi Corporation, Kyushu Plant, Kanda, Japan
Jade Pig Corporation, Gaslight Village, Grand Rapids, MI
La Jolla Crossroads, La Jolla, CA
Lincoln National Life Insurance Company Foundation, Fort Wayne, IN
Lumiere Place Casino and Hotel, A Four Seasons Hotel, St. Louis, MO
Neiman-Marcus, Dallas, TX
Pacific Enterprises, Law Library, Los Angeles
Palazzo Hotel Resort Casino, Las Vegas
Peabody Hotel, Little Rock, AR (Belz Enterprises, Memphis, TN)
Portman Corporation, Northpark Town Center, Atlanta
Rockefeller Realty Corporation, #3 Embarcadero West, San Francisco
Saint Vincent Hospital, Santa Fe, NM
Schulman Realty Group, White Plains, NY
Sempra Energy International, San Diego
Tower Insurance Group, New York
Trammell-Crow, Paramount, CA
Valley National Bank, Phoenix, AZ
West Group, One Bunker Hill, Los Angeles


9/11 Memorial Museum, New York
Albright College, Freedman Gallery, Reading, PA
Albuquerque Museum of Art, Albuquerque, NM
Aldrich Museum of Art, Ridgefield, CT
Allan Houser Foundation, Permanent Collection, Santa Fe, NM
Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
Eastern Michigan University Library, Ypsilanti, MI
Fine Arts Museum of Oklahoma City, OK
Goddard Visual Art Center, Ardmore, OK
Grounds for Sculpture Museum, Hamilton, NJ
Guild Hall Museum of Art, East Hampton, NY
Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, NM
Hope College, Music School, Holland, MI
The Hyde Collection Art Museum, Glens Falls, NY
Iowa State University, Art on Campus Collection, Gerdin Building, College of Business, Ames, IA
Iowa State University, Art on Campus Model and Maquette Collection, Ames, IA
Iowa State University, Department of Music and Theater, Ames, Iowa
International Foundation Art Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria
Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, TN
Kresge Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Mitchell Wolfson New World Campus, Miami
Museum of Outdoor Art, Englewood, CO
Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY
Norfolk Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA
Purdue University, North Central, Westville, IN
Pyramid Hill, Sculpture Park and Museum, Hamilton, OH
Reading Museum, Reading, PA
Rice University, Houston, TX
Runnymede Sculpture Farm, San Francisco
Santa Fe Museum of Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Scottsdale, AZ
Stony Brook University, Louis and Beatrice Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology
Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, VA
The Utsukushi-ga-Hara Open Air Museum, Tokyo
University of Hartford, Hartford, CT
University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan, School of Dentistry, Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan, School of Engineering, Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan, School of Social Work, Ann Arbor, MI
University of Montana, Montana Museum of Art and Culture, Missoula, MT
University of Nevada, Barrick Museum, Las Vegas
University of the South, Sewanee, TN
University of Syracuse, Syracuse, NY
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
William Patterson University, Sculpture Collection, Wayne, NJ


Ann Arbor City Hall, Ruby Church Memorial, Ann Arbor, MI
Appaloosa Public Library, Scottsdale, AZ
City of Palo Alto, CA
City of Phoenix, AZ
Criminal Court Building, Hartford, CT
New Dorp High School, Staten Island, NY
Nyack Plaza Mall, Nyack, NY
Pennington Park, Patterson, NJ

Work Selection

Alternate Text
Lyra Series 24
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Lyra Series 27