Peter Halley (b. 1953, New York City), painter, printmaker and essayist, is known for depicting cells, prisons and conduits, rendered in fluorescent ‘Day-Glo’ acrylic paint and ‘Roll-a-Tex’ texture additive. His painting references formalists and minimalists such as Josef Albers, Barnett Newman, Donald Judd, Piet Mondrian and Ad Reinhardt. His paintings are diagrams of the lived experience in a contemporary urban environment, in which social space is ever more divided and geometrised but individuals remain connected via ‘conduits’ of information flows, roadways and electrical grids. Halley came to prominence in the early 1980s with a group of artists which included Jeff Koons and Haim Steinbach. Halley, and the group loosely labelled ‘Neo-Geo’, deployed a cool irony as an important counterpoint to the neo-expressionism prevalent at the time. Halley’s concern with the effect of power relations on social and digital space owes much to the legacy of Andy Warhol.
Peter Halley studied at Yale University, where he gained his BA (1975), and at the University of New Orleans (MFA, 1978). He returned to New York in 1980, where his first solo exhibition was held at International with Monument (1985). Since then he has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions for instance at the Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld, Germany (1989), CAPC Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (1991), Museum of Modern Art, New York (1997) and Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Japan (1998). Installations have been exhibited at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris (1995), the University of Buffalo, New York (1997), Museum Folkwang, Essen (1998) and Waddington Galleries (1999, 2001). His published critical writings include two collections of essays from the 1980s and 1990s. In 1996 he founded index Magazine with Bob Nickas, which he edited until 2005. Between 2002 and 2011 Halley was Director of Graduate Studies in Painting and Printmaking at the Yale University School of Art.
Peter Halley lives and works in New York City.