Keith Sonnier (American, b. July 31, 1941) is a Conceptual artist and sculptor who was an influential part of the Process Art Movement. Born in Mamou, LA, he sometimes uses video and Performance Art in his pieces. In the 1960s, he was one of the first artists to incorporate light into his sculptures. Sonnier has traveled to Italy, France, and England, studying with André Lhote (French, 1885–1962) at the Academy in Paris.

Securing an MFA from Rutgers University in 1964, Sonnier joined the Rutgers Group to study under Robert Morris (American, b.1931). This informal group of artists used found materials in a Minimalist form of expression. Sonnier''s first exhibition was in New Brunswick at Douglass College in 1966, and he soon began making wall reliefs and sculptures from soft materials, such as cheesecloth and foam rubber. Other materials the artist used include neon and fluorescent lighting, aluminum, copper, and glass. One of Sonnier''s more spectacular installations, Lightway, decorates the terminals at the Munich airport in Germany. His other works have been found at the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands (1970), the Portland Center for the Visual Arts (1981), and MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, NY (1983).

Sonnier''s earlier works were used in video and film, such as his Live Video and Channel Mix series. Others were a series of lights, including Mirror Act and Spotted Circle, featuring theatrical spotlights shimmering through glass prisms. He also has many modern series under his belt, including the Modern Relic Series and the Oldowan Series. Long Stone is featured in the collection and is on display at Häusler Contemporary in Munich. Sonnier is featured in solo exhibits at many galleries such as the Marlborough in New York, The Institute for Art & Urban Resources, and The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. In 1975, Sonnier collaborated with Leo Castelli (American, 1907–1999) and Doug Christmas to produce Air to Air at the Castelli''s gallery in New York. Sonnier has also created material for books, catalogs, and periodicals. He currently resides in New York.

Timeline

1941
Born, Mamou, Louisiana, July 31st
1959–1963
Educated at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette, B.A.
1965–1966
Douglas College, Rutgers University, M.F.A.

Exhibitions

2012
Artissima »Back to the Future«, Roman Signer | Keith Sonnier, Turin, Italy
2010
Oldowan Series, Mary Boone Gallery, NYC, NY
2008
Works from the 1980s, Mary Boone Gallery, NYC, NY
2007
Häusler Contemporary Munich, Germany
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, USA
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, USA
2006
ACE Gallery, Beverly Hills, Keith Sonnier
ZKM / Museum für neue Kunst, Karlsruhe, Germany
Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany
ACE Gallery, Beverly Hills, Keith Sonnier
ZKM / Museum für neue Kunst, Karlsruhe, Germany
2005
Häusler Contemporary, Munich, Germany
2004
Haüsler Contemporary, Munich, Germany, Keith Sonnier - SEL Neue Lichtobjekte und Zeichnungen. 7.2-8.31
2003
Heriard-Cimino Gallery, New Orleans, Keith Sonnier
Ace Gallery, New York, Keith Sonnier: Neon and Glass 1967-69; Live Video 1970; Live Sound 1973.
Hasler Contemporary, Munich, Germany, Ba-O-Ba, Zeichnungen/Objekte
Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, Keith Sonnier
Sonnabend Gallery, New York, New Installation of the Sel Series, 1978/2003
Heriard-Cimino Gallery, New Orleans, Keith Sonnier
Keith Sonnier: MOTORDOM, Ace Gallery Los Angeles
Ace Gallery, New York, Keith Sonnier: Neon and Glass 1967-69; Live Video 1970; Live Sound 1973.
Hasler Contemporary, Munich, Germany, Ba-O-Ba, Zeichnungen/Objekte
Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, Keith Sonnier
Sonnabend Gallery, New York, New Installation of the Sel Series, 1978/2003
Heriard-Cimino Gallery, New Orleans, Keith Sonnier
Keith Sonnier: MOTORDOM, Ace Gallery Los Angeles
2002
Rathaus Galerie, Munich, Germany, Keith Sonnier:Licht und Architektur Oeffentliche Auftragsarbeiten
2001
Overbeck Gesellschaft LY®beck, Germany, Keith Sonnier:Zeichnungen und Neonarbeiten, 3.25-5.
2000
Marlborough Gallery, New York, Keith Sonnier: New Work 2000 (Cat) 4.29- 6.3
Zumtobel Staff Lichtzentrum, Zurich, Keith Sonnier: La Lumi`ere, 11.22-12.22
Zumtobel Staff Lichtzentrum, Zurich, Keith Sonnier: La Lumi`ere, 11.22-12.22
1999
Marlborough Gallery, New York, Keith Sonnier: Sculpture 1966-1998 (Cat.) 1.14-2.13
Aktionsforum Praterinsel, Munich, Germany, Keith Sonnier: New Neon (Cat.) 3.26-5.24.
Kulturmanagement H?usler, Munich, Germany, Keith Sonnier: The Blatt Series. 3.26-5.24
Galerie Evelyne Canus, Colle sur Loup, France, Keith Sonnier Ba-O-Ba 1977; Blatt 1999. 7.9-9.4
Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria, Keith Sonnier: Environmental Works 1968-1999(Cat.) 10.2-11.28
1997
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, Alternating Currents, 3.22-4.26
Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York, Channel Mix, 3.27-4.26
1996
Galerie Malka Lallouz, Los Angeles, CA, Cat Doucet Series, 7.18- 8.
University Art Gallery, Staller Center for the Arts, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Oriental - Occidental, 11.8-12.14 (Cat.)
1993
Gravity and Grace, The Changing Condition of Sculpture 1965-1975, Hayward Gallery, London, England
Out of Sight Out of Mind, Lisson Gallery, London, England
1992
La Collection: tableau inaugural, Musee d'art Contemporain de Montreal, Montreal, Canada
1991
Immaterial Objects, Whitney Museum of American Art, City Branches, New York, USA
Galerie JY®rgen Becker, Hamburg, Germany, Sel Werk (Cat.)
Neue National Galerie, Berlin, Ba-O-Ba Berlin. (Cat.)