Born in 1953 in New York, USA, Peter Halley lives and works in New York.
Peter Halley, one of the most emblematic artists of his generation, is recognized in the history of contemporary painting as the legitimate heir of American abstraction. In the mid-1980s, he reaches international fame as a major figure of geometric abstraction.
The use of industrial materials, synthetic mortar, Day-Glo, Roll-a-Tex, and fluorescent acrylic paint, as well as recurrent patterns of circuits and cells, create Peter Halley’s signature of instantaneous visual impact. His iconography endows abstract forms with the same value as diagrams and in turn references everything from architecture to societal organizations.
For Peter Halley, geometry is a metaphor for contemporary society. His universe consists of forms that he calls “cells”, “prisons”, or even “conduits”. His use of industrial materials distances his work from painting’s “sublime” character and suggests that his compositions, although abstract, nonetheless have some relationship with external reality. His large-scale paintings highlight the influence of mathematical models, information systems, and even communication flux, in modern cities, societal organizations, and in all aspects of life in a post- industrial society.
Embedded in social, philosophical, conceptual context, Peter Halley’s geometric abstractions operate in the language of codes and tell stories about both the past and the future. Ideographic, the artworks refer to multiple realities at once, from architecture to art history to societal and digital organizations, and create wonderful alchemical riddles – for the viewer to solve.
Peter Halley had numerous institutional shows: CAPC Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (1991), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (1992), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1992), Des Moines Art Center (1992), Dallas Museum of Art (1995), Museum of Modern Art, New York (1997), Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art (1998), Museum Folkwang, Essen (1998), Butler Institute of American Art (1999), Disjecta interdisciplinary Art Center, Portland (2012), Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Étienne Métropole (2014), Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2016), The Lever House Art Collection, New York (2018), Museo Nivola, Sardinia and The Ranch, Montauk (2021), Dallas Contemporary, Texas (2021-2022).
Public collections (selection): MNAM – Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), Addison Gallery of American Art (Andover, US), Boston Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, US), CAC centro de arte contemporaneo (Malaga, Spain), CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain (Bordeaux, France), Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, US), Castello di Rivoli Musem of Contemporary Art (Turin, Italy), Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas, US), Denver art Museum (Denver, US), Museum Folkwang (Essen, Germany), Fonds National d’art contemporain, FNAC Collection (Paris, France), Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain (Paris, France), High museum of Art (Atlanta, US), Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (Valencia, Spain), Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art (Japan), Mudam (Luxembourg),Museum of Modern Art (New York, US), Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo, Japan), Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, US), National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, Canada), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, US), Seoul Museum of art (Seoul, South Korea), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, US), Tate Modern (London, UK), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, US).
News and events
"Plus que géo" (More than Geo) - texts on John Phillip Abbott, Lisa Beck, Peter Halley and Blair Thurman in artpress n°510, May 2023
"40 Years Later, The Return of Halley's Day-Glo Comet" by Max Lakin for The New York Times, April 2023