Robert Barry (American, b.1936) is an artist who has made contributions to Conceptual Art since 1967. However, he is not comfortable with the term “Conceptual Art.” Barry was born in New York, NY. He studied fine arts as an undergraduate at the Hunter's College of the City University of New York, and graduated in 1963. He earned his MA from the same school.
In 1974, Barry moved to Teaneck, NJ. He gave up painting and made art making using invisible media his life's work. He has chosen to use media such as electromagnetic energy, ultrasonic radiation, and inert gases. He describes his art as affecting other things as much as it is affected by those things. Barry believes that it is something that often goes unnoticed but it can be presented. Additionally, he believes that to know about it is to be a part of that art. He later started to work with words, which he says he uses only to describe a situation that is not very visible; he aims to draw the viewer even closer. The artist has admitted to wanting the viewer to complete some of his pieces in which he presents part of a word.
Barry has proven himself to be a prolific artist. He has shown his work in numerous art exhibitions since his first solo exhibition at the Westerly Gallery in New York, NY, in 1964. In 2011 alone, he was part of 15 group exhibitions and had four solo exhibitions. Most of those exhibitions were in Europe. However, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY, exhibits a number of his works, and the Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery and the Galerie Yvon Lambert in New York, NY, have showcased his artwork. Barry’s major work includes the Carrier Wave, in which he focused on carrier waves of a radio station as an object, the Radiation Piece, and the Inert Gas piece. These works involved Barry opening bottles of inert gases in different settings before a group of spectators.