Bernar Venet is a Conceptual artist best known for his versatility in multiple mediums, including painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, as well as stage design and musical composition. Venet became well known in the 1960s for his amorphous installations made by piling up loose gravel, coal, or asphalt; and “industrial paintings” from cardboard reliefs or tar. (Around that time, he decided to drop the last letter from his given name, Bernard.) Shortly after, inspired by the works of Minimalist sculptors like Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Carl Andre, Venet began to produce wall-mounted and freestanding metal sculptures. Among the best known are his torch-cut steel plates and beams resembling scribbles, lines, and arcs. Venet says that his sculptures are about “how metal resists. They are a test of strength—a battle between myself and the piece of metal.”
Born on April 20 in Château-Arnoux, France.
Studies for one year at the Villa Thiole, the municipal art school of the city of Nice.
Employed as a stage designer for the Nice City Opera.
Participates in the "Salon comparaisons" at the Museum of Modern Art, Paris.
Exhibits his works at the IVth Paris Biennial.
Creates a ballet, Graduation, to be danced on a vertical plane. Starts making new work based on the use of mathematical diagrams.
Bernar Venet decides, for theoretical reasons, to cease his artistic activities.
Teaches "Art and Art Theory" at the Sorbonne, Paris. A representative for France at the XIIIe São Paulo Biennale, Brazil.
Starts creating artistic work again.
Exhibits at "Documenta VI", Kassel, Germany.
Participates in the exhibition "From Nature to Art. From Art to Nature." at the Venice Biennale, Italy.
Awarded a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, Washington, DC.
Starts creating his sculptures at Atelier Marioni, a foundry in the Vosges region of France.
Jean-Louis Martinoty asks Bernar Venet to stage his ballet Graduation (conceived in 1966) at the Paris Opéra. The artist is the author of the music, choreography, set designs and costumes. Received the 1988 Design Award for his sculpture in front of the World Trade Center, Norfolk, Virginia.
Awarded the Grand Prix des Arts de la Ville de Paris.
Creates several musical compositions including Sound and Resonance at the Studio Miraval, Var, France. Release of two compact discs on the Circé-Paris label, Gravier/Goudron, 1963, and Acier Roulé E 24-2, 1990.
Invited to participate in the artists' film festival in Montreal, Canada for his film Rolled Steel XC-10.
Mr. Jacques Chirac, then the Mayor of Paris, invites Venet to present twelve sculptures from his Indeterminate Line series on the Champ de Mars. This exhibition kicks off a world tour of Venet's sculptures.
Awarded the honor of "Commandeur dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres" by the Minister of Culture in France. Presentation of the film Lines, directed by Thierry Spitzer, which covers the artist's complete oeuvre.
Moves to a studio in Chelsea in New York City. Begins a news series of sculpture entitled "Arcs x 4" and "Arcs x 5". Becomes a Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, based in Salzburg, Austria.
Travels to China. Invited by the Mayor of Shanghai to participate in the Shanghai International Sculpture Symposium.
Installation of a public sculpture in the city of Cologne, Germany in honor of the G-8 Summit.
Releases the third version of the film Tarmacadam (from 1963) with Arkadin Productions.
Exhibits at the Musée d'Art moderne et contemporain in Geneva.
Publishes a compilation of his poetry, Apoétiques 1967-1998.
New series of wall paintings, Major Equations, exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro, Brasília and São Paulo, and at the Centre d'art contemporain Georges Pompidou in Cajarc, as well as at MAMCO in Geneva.
A year of important publications: Bernar Venet: 1961-1970, a monograph about the young artist written by Robert C. Morgan; Sursaturation an original work about reflections on the possibilities of literature; Bernar Venet: Sculptures and Reliefs, written by Arnaud Pierre; La Conversion du regard a compilation of texts and interviews from 1975-2000; Global Diagonals, a catalogue concerning a humanistic, artistic and technological project with straight lines (each 300 feet long) virtually connecting the five continents.
Assouline publishes Furniture, a book on all of his designs, in conjunction with exhibitions of his furniture at the Galerie Rabouan Moussion and at SM'ART (Salon du mobilier et de l'objet design) at the Carrousel du Louvre, both in Paris.
Inauguration of the Chapelle-Saint-Jean in Chateau-Arnoux, France. The stained glass windows and all the furniture are designed by Bernar Venet.
Poetry reading at White Box, New York, with Robert Morgan.
Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont in Paris exhibits new series of Equation paintings.
A performance evening incorporating the artist's poetry, film and music at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France.
Exhibits Indeterminate Line sculptures at the Galerie Academia in Salzburg, Austria, and at Robert Miller Gallery in New York.
Monograph by Thomas McEvilley on the artist's complete body of work published in French and German.
Exhibits Equation and new Saturation paintings at Anthony Grant, Inc., in New York.
Traveling sculpture show arrives in the United States, and twelve large sculptures are exhibited at The Fields at Art Omi International Sculpture Park in New York State for the summer. The show moves to the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida in November.
Seventeen solo exhibitions this year, including a retrospective of his early work from 1961-1963 at the Hôtel des Arts, Toulon, France, and Autoportrait tomodensitométrique at the Musée d'Art moderne et d'Art contemporain (MAMAC) in Nice, France.
Exhibits Saturation paintings in France, California and at the Art Basel Miami Beach Fair. L’Yeuse, Paris publishes first book on Equation paintings, written by Donald Kuspit. Traveling sculpture show makes its way through Europe: in Nice, France; the city of Luxembourg; Bad Homburg, Germany; Schloss Herberstein, Austria; and in the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris.
Three simultaneous solo exhibitions at locations in New York City, notably the Robert Miller Gallery as well as three large-scale sculptures on the Park Avenue Malls. Publication of Art: A Matter of Context, a book of the artist's writings and interviews spanning 1975-2003.
Traveling sculpture show makes its way to: the city of Liège, Belgium; Miami, Florida; and Denver, Colorado.
A year of important commissions for: Bosch Collection in Stuttgart, Germany; AGF, Paris, France; and the Colorado Convention Center, in Denver.
Retrospective of the artist's Arcs exhibited at the Musée Sainte-Croix of Poitiers, France. Related survey, L’hypothèse de l’arc, is published a year later.
On January 1, the artist is named “Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur”, France’s highest decoration. His sculptures continue to tour Europe and North America, with exhibitions in Boulogne-Billancourt and Cergy-Pontoise in France; at the Galerie Guy Pieters Knokke-le Zoute, Belgium; the Evo Gallery in New Mexico; and the Carrie Secrist in Chicago, Illinois.
Receives the Robert Jacobsen prize for sculpture from the Würth Stiftung in Germany.
Chosen by the jury at the Ministry of Culture in Paris to paint the ceiling of the Palais Cambon of the Cour des Comptes in Paris, in celebration of the establishment’s bicentennial in 2007.
Inauguration of Saturation on the ceiling of the Cour des Comptes in Paris by President Jacques Chirac.
Three retrospective exhibitions: at the National Museum of Contemporary Art near Seoul, South Korea; the Busan Museum of Modern Art in Busan, South Korea; and the Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst in Duisburg, Germany.
Traveling sculpture show moves to the French cities of Bordeaux and Metz.
June sees the inauguration of 25 meter Arcs commissioned for the Toulouse Métro.
Sotheby's for the first time invites a single artist - Bernar Venet - to present his work on the grounds of the Isleworth Country Club. From January through April 2008, approximately twenty-five monumental sculptures showcase the artist's work of the last two decades, highlighting some of his most distinctive themes. In the fall, the city of San Diego hosts a dozen of the artist’s sculptures in California.
L'Espace de l'Art Concret in Mouans-Sartoux stages the first public exhibition of artwork from the Venet Family Collection.
The Arsenale Novissimo grants him 1,200 square meters of space in the 53rd Venice Biennale to exhibit four new monumental sculptures.
A survey of paintings and sculptures is mounted at the Kunsthalle Darmstadt in Germany, then moves to the Palais des Beaux-Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels, supplemented by an exhibition of new Shaped Canvases at the Galerie Guy Pieters in Knokke-Heist, Belgium.
Valencia's IVAM mounts a retrospective of Venet's conceptual work as well as a full survey of his paintings under the curatorship of Barbara Rose.
The Texan-French Alliance of the Arts and McClain Gallery lead the charge of bringing Public Art to Houston, in the form of 10 large-scale sculptures by Venet installed in Hermann Park.
The Stiftung für Kunst und Kultur organizes for a group of sculptures in Salzburg, Austria.
President Nicolas Sarkozy inaugurates a monumental sculpture on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice in honor of the 150th anniversary of the city’s reunification with France.
Two commissions in Seoul, South Korea for Dongkuk Steel Mill and Hannam The Hill.
Mounts a painting retrospective at the Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea, and the Hôtel des Arts, Toulon.
Exhibits seven monumental sculptures on the grounds of the Château de Versailles, and the Château de Marly in France, including Arcs of 22 meters framing the statue of Louis XIV at the palace entrance. A film, Venet / Sculptures is produced by Thierry Spitzer on the occasion of Venet à Versailles.
Exhibits sculptures at the Salinger Foundation in Le Thor and in the city of Valenciennes, France, as well as in Frankfurt, Germany, and sees the Ludwig Museum in Koblenz present his drawings on the occasion of the acquisition of a sculpture for their permanent collection.
Develops his work on steel wall reliefs (GRIBS), which he inaugurates at the Von Bartha Garage in Basel, Switzerland.
Stages a retrospective at the Müscarnok Museum in Budapest, Hungary. March sees the inauguration of 88.5° Arc x 8, a 27-meter tall sculpture on Gibbs Farm near Auckland, New Zealand, and the announcement by Valencia's IVAM that Venet will be the 2013 recipient of the International Julio González Sculpture Prize. A biographical note on Bernar Venet is included in the 2012 Edition of the Dictionnaire Larousse, which became available to the public in June 2012. Is approached by Bugatti to design a unique, one-of-a-kind Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport, with his iconic Saturations to reproduce the actual formulas used by the engineers. The sports car was unveiled at the Rubell Family Collection, during Art Basel Miami, in December.
The French Postal Service will issue a commemorative stamp of the artist’s 22-meter Vertical Arcs that were exhibited at the Château de Versailles in 2011.
In the spring, the artist participated in a group show, Blickachsen 9, in collaboration with the Maeght Foundation (Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France), in Bad Homburg, Germany. Then, the artist exhibited in Marseille in the context of Marseille-Provence - 2013’s European Capital of Culture. In the summer he showed works in the 55th Venice Biennale over the summer. He also exhibited his sculptures and GRIBS at the ACE Gallery in California.
After extending his show at Ace Gallery, in California, the artist exhibits Saturations, GRIBs, and sculptures at Hyundai Gallery, in Seoul, and mounts a retrospective on Points, at the Espace Jacques Villeglé de Saint Gratien, France.
The inauguration for the Venet Foundation took place in July, in Le Muy, France. The Foundation is open by reservation only to a limited number of groups each year.
Other exhibitions this year include solo shows at the Strandverket Museum, Gothenburg, Sweden, as well as von Bartha Garage, in Basel, Switzerland, coinciding with Art Basel, and at the Galerie Scheffel, in Bad Homburg, Germany.
Develops his work on the Angles, and presents a new series of Effondrements based on Angles, simultaneously showing them in Venice during the Biennale, in Pilane in Sweden, and in Veszprém in Hungary. The International Sculpture Center (ISC) announces that Venet will be the recipient of the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Venet receives the 2016 International Sculpture Center (ISC) Lifetime Achievement Award. Exhibits his Angles sculptures in a solo exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York. Concurrently, and in collaboration with Paul Kasmin Gallery, the Department of Transportation, and the Union Square Partnership, Disorder: 9 Uneven Angles is installed in Union Square, New York through June.
June sees two important public installations: 89˚ Arc x 14, a 17 meter tall permanent sculpture, is unveiled in Bonn, Germany, in collaboration with the Stiftung für Kunst und Kultur. Effondrement: Arcs, a temporary site-specific work of 20 tons, is installed in Basel, Switzerland, in collaboration with the Galerie von Bartha, as part of the city’s Art Parcours program.