Born in 1966 in San Francisco, USA
Lives and works in San Francisco, USA

Barry MCGEE

Barry McGee was born in San Francisco, California in 1966. Receiving his BFA in painting and printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute, he was associated with the Mission School, a movement primarily influenced by urban realism, graffiti, and American folk art, focusing on social activism. McGee’s works have always displayed a candid and insightful observation of modern society, and his purpose of actively contributing to marginalized communities has remained the same throughout his career, from his days as “Twist” (his graffiti moniker) to his current position as a global artist. Whether it be consumerism or social stratification, McGee has arguably voiced his concerns through his art, taking on different personas such as Ray Fong, Lydia Fong, P.Kin, Ray Virgil, and Bernon Vernon. His trademark motif characterized by a male caricature with droopy eyes resonates with his particular empathy for the homeless and transients who identify the streets as their home. This conglomeration of experiences allows McGee to create a unique visual language consisting of geometric patterns, recurring symbols, and the use of the “cluster method”, while experimenting with various unconventional media, including glass bottles and other found objects. His recent large-scale murals, and meticulous archive of paintings and drawings continue to examine the notion of public versus private space, and the accessibility of art. McGee’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at respected museums and  institutions, such as Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA; Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Boston, MA; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX; Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; and Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA. His works are included in public collections including Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), San Francisco, CA; Berkeley Museum of Art and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; The New Art Gallery, Walsall, UK; and Fondazione Prada, Venice, Italy.  

education

1991
B.F.A. in Painting & Printmaking, San Francisco Art Institute

solo shows

2018
Little Savage, Eighteen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society, Bellport, NY
SB Mid-Summer Intensive, Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA
Cheim & Read, New York, NY

2017
Big Sky, Little Moon, Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan

2016
MC06, Monster Children Magazine, Sydney, Australia
 
2015
China Boo, Ratio 3, San Francisco, CA
 
2013
FOCUS: Barry McGee, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX
Barry McGee, Mid-Career Survey, ICA Boston, Boston, MA
Cheim & Read, New York
 
2012
Barry McGee, Mid-Career Survey, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA
Street, The New Art Gallery Walsall, West Highlands, UK
 
2011
Workshop Arte Contemporanea, Venice, Italy
New Work, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London, UK
 
2010
Leave it Alone, Barry McGee & Clare Rojas, Bolinas Museum, Bolinas, CA
The Last Night (two person show with HuskMitNavn), Alice Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
 
2009
Mr Brown, Galleria Alessandra Bonomo, Rome, Italy
 
2008
A Moment for Reflection: New Work by Lydia Fong, Ratio 3, San Francisco, CA
The Big Sad: Barry McGee & Clare Rojas, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA
They Don’t Make this Anymore, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK

2007
The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan
Butler Gallery, Kilkenney Castle, Ireland
Advanced Mature Work, Redcat Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
 
2006
We Have a Friend in Common, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, Denmark
The Art of Robert Pimple, Paule Anglim Gallery, San Francisco, CA
 
2005
Easy Tonto, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London, UK
One More Thing, Deitch Projects, New York, NY
John Kaldor Art Projects, Metropolitan Meat Market, Melbourne, Australia
Things Are Really Getting Better, Museum Het Domein Sittard, Sittard, Netherlands
 
2004
The stars were aligned..., Metropolitan Meat Market Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
Barry McGee, curated by Raphaela Platow, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Boston, MA
John Kaldor Projects, Sydney, Australia

2002
Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy
Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London, UK
Paule Anglim, San Francisco, CA
 
2000
Hammer Projects: Barry McGee, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA
 
1999
Hoss, Rice University Art Gallery, Houston, TX
The Buddy System, Deitch Projects, New York, NY
 
1998
Regards, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
 
1995
Installation, Art & Design Studio/ K&T Lionheart LTD, Boston, MA
 
1994
Installation, Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, CA
 
1993
Installation, Museum Laser Segall, São Paulo, Brazil
 

group shows

2018
Beyond the Streets, multi-media installations spread throughout Los Angeles, CA
People, Deitch Projects, New York, NY
 
2017
10th Anniversary, Gallery Target, Tokyo, Japan
The Present Tense: R. Crumb / Barry McGee, Ratio 3, San Francisco, CA
Sea Sick in Paradise, curated by Amy Yao, Malibu Village and Dean & Deluca, Malibu, CA
Stay Gold – Todd James, Geoff McFetridge, Barry McGee and Thomas Campbell, VI Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark

2015
FUD, V1 Contemporary Art Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark 
Scapes, Auto Body, Bellport, NY
 
2014
Green Circle, Black Diamond, Ratio 3, San Francisco, CA
Honolulu 014, RVCA x The Seventh Letter Pop-Up, Pow! Wow! Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
Department of Neighborhood Services, Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
ENERGY THAT IS ALL AROUND/Mission School, Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York
, NY
Fertile Found: Art and Community in California, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA
 
2013
ENERGY THAT IS ALL AROUND, San Francisco Art Institute Walter & McBean Galleries, San Francisco, CA
(Almost) Free Formed: Chris Johanson, Barry McGee, and Laurie Reid in Collaboration, City College Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA
 
2011
Sydney Laneways, Sydney, Australia

Art in The Streets, The Geffen Contemporary at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
Let’s Go Bombing Tonight, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark
Postermat, The Hole, New York, NY
 
2010
Outside The Box, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
, CA
They Knew What They Wanted, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
, CA
Brush Strokes, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark

Transfer, Brazilian Cultural Pavilion, Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo, Brazil
Viva la Revolución: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA
Pleasure Point: Celebrating 25 Years of Contemporary Collectors, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA
 
2009
75 Years Looking Forward: The Anniversary Show, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
, CA
mindthegap, Prism, Los Angeles
, CA
New York Minute, MACRO FUTURE, Rome, Italy

2009 Lyon Biennale, Lyon, France

Born in the Streets-Graffiti, Foundation Cartier Paris, France

Liberation Upon Contact, Ratio 3, San Francisco, CA
Barry McGee / Ed Templeton / Raymond Pettibon, Circleculture Gallery, Berlin, Germany

Galaxy: A Hundred or So Stars Visible to the Naked Eye, University of California, Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA
 
2008
Len Lye: A Colour Box, Arcade Fine Arts, London, UK
Dripsy, Galerie Olivier Robert, Paris, France
Life on Mars: The 55th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, PA
 
2007
Alpha, Ratio 3, San Francisco, CA
EUPHORION, Pierogi Gallery, Leipzig, Germany

Kinky Sex (Makes the World Go ‘Round), Lizabeth Oliveria Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
 
2006
Meditations in an Emergency, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI
Spank the Monkey, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK
Summer Show, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London, UK
 
2005
On Line, The Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark
 
2004
Monument to Now, The Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens, Greece

Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH
 
2002
Liverpool Biennale, Liverpool, UK
Drawing Now: Eight Propositions, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
 
2001
Holdfast: Barry McGee & Margaret Kilgallen, Deste Foundation Centre for Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece
Un art populaire, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris, France
Widely Unknown, Jeffrey Deitch, New York
49th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
 
2000
Street Market, Parco Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

Street Market, Deitch Projects, New York, NY
Indelible Market, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA
 
1998
Art from Around the Bay, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
 
1997
Drawing Installation, Galerie Tanya Rumpff, Haarlem, Netherlands
Drawing Today, San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA
 
1996
SECA Art Award, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
WAVEFORMS, Santa Cruz, CA
Figureheads & Red Herrings, Koplin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Acme Custom, Acme Gallery, San Francisco
, CA
Wall Drawings, The Drawing Center, New York
, NY
City Folk, Holly Solomon Gallery, New York, NY
 
1995
Degenerate Art, The Lab, San Francisco, CA
Post No Bills, Acme Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland
 Missed Connections, Market Street Installation, Luggage Store/509 Cultural Center Annex, San Francisco
, CA
New Langton Arts, San Francisco

The Library, New Langton Arts, San Francisco
, CA
Big Jesus Trash Can, Victoria Room, San Francisco, CA
 
1993
Twelve Bay Area Painters: The Eureka Fellowship Winners, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA
Texture of Nature, Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, CA
Folklore, Luggage Store, 509 Cultural Center, San Francisco Installation, La Raza Graphics Center, San Francisco, CA
 
1992
U.C. Santa Cruz, Mary Porter Sesnon Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA
 
1991
Wet Paint, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA
3/Play, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA
Installation, Diego Rivera Galley, San Francisco
, CA
Wall of Resistance, Wall of Shame, UC Berkeley, Berkeley Art, CA
Art Against the War, A.T.A. Gallery, San Francisco
, CA
Multicultural Show, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA
 

public collections

Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), San Francisco, CA
Berkeley Museum of Art and Pacific Film Archive, Berkely, CA
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
The New Art Gallery, Walsall, UK
Fondazione Prada, Venice, Italy

awards

1996
SECA Art Award San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
 
1994
The Creative Work Fund, Walter and Elise Haas Fund
 
1993
Lila Wallace, Readers Digest International Artist Program Eureka Fellowship, Fleishaker Foundation
 
1991
Merit Scholarship, San Francisco Art Institute
 
1990
Carson Paper Award Merit Scholarship, San Francisco Art Institute
 
1989
Sobel Scholarship, San Francisco Art Institute
 

  • February 2018
    The Brooklyn Rail — 7 PAGES

  • November 2015
    Square Cylinder — 2 PAGES

  • August 2015
    The New Yorker — 7 PAGES

  • October 2013
    Brooklyn Rail — 1 PAGE

  • June 2013
    Artforum — 1 PAGE