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Keith Sonnier

Keith Sonnier, born in Mamou, Louisiana in 1941, is among the first and most significant representatives of a generation of artists who has initiated a radical research on sculpture. After graduating at the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1963 and a Master of Fine Arts at Rutgers University in 1966, Sonnier began experimenting with industrial and ephemeral materials ranging from latex to satin, from objets trouvés to transmitters and videos. He uses unusual materials for that time, collaborating with his contemporary artists such as Eva Hesse, Barry Le Va, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, Richard Tuttle and Jackie Winsor. In 1968 he made the first wall sculptures using incandescent light and then the neon, which quickly became the characterizing element of his work, with the aim of giving new shape to light and new meaning to the material. Using neon glass tubes, the artist draws an unprecedented dimension in space through an interweaving of lines, arcs and curves of light and color that interact with the surrounding architecture. He lives and works in New York.

Keith Sonnier has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions in institutions, such as: NOMA, New Orleans (2019 upcoming), DIA/Dan Flavin Art Institute, Bridgehampton NY and Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill NY (2018), Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford (2017), Musee d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Nice (2015), University of Lafayette, Louisiana (2014), BMW Museum, Monaco (2012), Louisiana Art and Science Museum, Baton Rouge (2010), University of Hartford, Connecticut (2005), Rathausgalerie, Munich and Neue National Galerie, Berlin (2002), Kunsthaus, Bregenz and Parrish Art Museum, Southampton (1999 ), Staller Center for the Arts, Stony Brook (1996), Kunstverein St. Gallen Kunstmuseum, St. Gallen (1993), Musée-Château d’Annecy (1992), California State University Art Museum, Long Beach (1990), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC (1989), Chrysler Museum, Norfolk (1988), Centre d’Art Contemporain of the Domaine de Kerguehennec, Bignan (1987), Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1984), MoMA PS1, New York (1983), Haus Lange Kunstmuseum , Krefeld and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1979), The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1971), Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (1970), Rutgers University, New Brunswick (1966).

He has participated in over 360 group exhibitions during his career. Among those in institutions: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (2018), British Museum, London (2017), Noguchi Museum, New York (2015), Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat (2014), Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (2013), Parrish Art Museum, New York (2012), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2011), Kunstlerhaus Palais Thurn & Taxis, Bregenz (2010), Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach (2006), Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg (2004), Ogden Museum of Southern Art, University of New Orleans (2003), CAPC, Bordeaux (2002), Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2001), Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen (2000), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1999), Musée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon (1997), Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Nice (1996), Drawing Center, New York (1993), Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montréal (1992), National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul (1990), Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (1989), Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art (1988), Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (1987), Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (1986), Kunsthaus und Kunstverein, Hamburg (1985), National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. (1984), Nationalgalerie, Berlin (1983), Jacksonville Art Museum, Florida (1980), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1978), Fort Worth Art Museum, Texas (1977), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1975), National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (1974), Villa Borghese, Rome (1973), Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen (1971), Institute of American Art, Philadelphia (1970).

Keith Sonnier also took part in international exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale (1982, 1976, 1972) and Documenta, Kassel (1972).

From February 2018, he is represented in Italy by Galleria Fumagalli in Milan which organized the solo show “Light Works, 1968 to 2017” in the very same year.