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b. 1953, United States

Peter Halley Biography

Peter Halley is an American artist, writer, and leading figure of Neo-Conceptualism, best known for his geometric Day Glo paintings of the 1980s and 90s, which explore the organisation of contemporary life through systems and networks.

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Early Career

Peter Halley rose to prominence in the mid-1980s among the artist community of New York's East Village, exhibiting in artist-run spaces alongside Jeff Koons, Ashley Bickerton, and Richard Prince.

Theoretically minded, Halley sought to repurpose the language of art-historical abstraction to represent what he called the complete geometrification of social space under technological and industrial developments of the late 20th century.

Influenced by the geometry of the surrounding city and the French poststructuralist theory shaping intellectual discourse in New York, Halley developed a formal iconography that defined postmodern subjectivity through networks of exchange and regulation.

Peter Halley Artworks

Composed of squares representing prisons or cells connected via conduits, Halley's paintings were often rendered in fluorescent Day Glo paint, with surface texture produced by a commercial surfacing tool used in suburban homes and motels.

Red Cell with Conduit (1982)

Red Cell with Conduit (1982) invokes this systematisation of information, social life, and the self. A bright red field of colour separated into a textured cell with a conduit beneath, it recalls the flow of electricity or the transportation of goods.

Mohammad Salemy explains in Ocula Magazine: 'Despite being abstract, the repetition of visual elements across Halley's paintings—like cells, which appear as monochromatic squares or rectangular smokestacks—operate as concrete units of meaning.'

'Functioning like words, these visual codes create associations that fit into and construct a self-contained world with its own logic.'

Neo-Expressionism and the Digital Revolution

Using commercial painting materials and high-keyed colour, Halley invoked pop cultural imagery such as fluorescent street signs or New Wave pop aesthetics, declaring art-making in the postmodern era as divorced from the representation of the natural world.

In 1986, Halley was featured in an exhibition at Sonnabend Gallery, New York. The show marked a departure from the stylistically dominant Neo-Expressionism, heralded by artists such as Julian Schnabel and Enzo Cucchi, and distinguished Halley as a central figure in the emergent Neo-Geo or Neo-Expressionist movement.

In the 1990s, Halley's work developed in response to the digital revolution. In 1993, Halley produced Superdream Mutation, a web-based print that is thought to be the first artwork made exclusively for online viewing and sale.

Public Installations

Branching out into digital software, printmaking, and comic-book influenced imagery, Halley also began to stage site-specific installations. These included an installation at the Dallas Museum of Art in 1995, which employed a mixture of painting, wall-sized flow charts, and digitally produced wallpaper prints.

Halley has also produced a number of permanent public works, including a large painting at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Texas (2005). In 2011, he exhibited Judgement Day, a series of digital prints at the 54th Venice Biennale, and in 2018, staged a large-scale presentation at the Lever House, New York.

Career and Publications

As a writer, Peter Halley produced numerous essays between the 1980s and the early 2000s. Like his paintings, these interrogated the relationship between the individual and larger social structures, and included theoretical essays on art, such as 'Essence and Model' (1988).

Peter Halley taught at Columbia University, New York, and the University of California, Los Angeles. From 2002 to 2011, he served as the Director of Graduate Studies in Painting and Printmaking at the Yale University School of Art.

Collections

Peter Halley's works are held in collections worldwide, including at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate, London; and Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Exhibitions

Peter Halley's work have been exhibited worldwide.

Between 1991 and 1992, a major retrospective of his work travelled across Europe, stopping at Musée d'Art Contemporain, Bordeaux; Musée d'Art Contemporain, Lausanne; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

Solo exhibitions include Mudam Luxembourg (2023); Karma, New York and Los Angeles (2023); Modern Art, London (2022); Dallas Contemporary (2021); Sperone Westwater, New York (2018); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2016); Musée d'Art Moderne, Saint Étienne Métropole (2014); Museum Folkwang, Essen (1998); and Museum of Modern Art, New York (1997).

Select group exhibitions include Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rennes; K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong; Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (all 2018); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2017); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (both 2015).

The artist currently lives and works in New York.

Website

The artist's website is here, his Instagram here.

Alena Kavka | Ocula | 2021

Peter Halley
featured artworks

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Blue Prison by Peter Halley contemporary artwork painting
Peter Halley Blue Prison, 2005 Acrylic and Roll-a-Tex on canvas
106.7 x 106.7 cm
Dep Art Gallery Request Price & Availability
Wish by Peter Halley contemporary artwork painting
Peter Halley Wish, 2023 Acrylic, fluorescent acrylic, Flashe, and Roll-a-Tex on canvas
198 x 215 cm
Almine Rech Request Price & Availability
Femme à l’intérieur I by Peter Halley contemporary artwork painting
Peter Halley Femme à l’intérieur I, 1979 Acrylic on canvas
121.9 x 91.4 cm
Almine Rech Request Price & Availability
A common sequence by Peter Halley contemporary artwork painting
Peter Halley A common sequence, 2023 Acrylic, fluorescent acrylic, and Roll-a-Tex on canvas
168 x 126 cm
Almine Rech Request Price & Availability
Untitled (5.5.20.2) by Peter Halley contemporary artwork painting, print
Peter Halley Untitled (5.5.20.2), 2021 Acrylic and fluorescent acrylic on digitally printed paper
53.3 x 40.6 cm
Karma Request Price & Availability
Explosion by Peter Halley contemporary artwork painting
Peter Halley Explosion, 2017 Archival UV-cured ink on brushed chrome vinyl, mounted on dibond
88.9 x 88.9 cm
Galerie Thomas Contact Gallery
Dust by Peter Halley contemporary artwork painting
Peter Halley Dust, 2009 Acrylic, Day-Glo acrylic and Roll-a-Tex on canvas
203.2 x 144.8 cm
Sold
Waddington Custot
Disconnect by Peter Halley contemporary artwork painting
Peter Halley Disconnect, 2012 Acrylic, fluorescent acrylic and Roll-a-Tex on canvas
178 x 193 cm
Sold
Mimmo Scognamiglio Artecontemporanea
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Peter Halley
recent exhibitions

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Represented by these
Ocula Member Galleries

Almine Rech contemporary art gallery in Brussels, Belgium
Almine Rech London, New York, Shanghai, Paris, Brussels +4
Gary Tatintsian Gallery contemporary art gallery in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Gary Tatintsian Gallery New York, Dubai, Moscow
Karma contemporary art gallery in 188 E 2nd Street, New York, United States
Karma Los Angeles, New York
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Peter Halley in
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