Barry Le Va was born in 1941 in Long Beach, California. Among his earliest shows was a solo exhibition at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1969. Beginning in the late 1960s, his work has been included in landmark exhibitions such as Anti-Illusion: Procedures/Materials at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1969, and Information at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1970. Le Va has subsequently participated in documenta 5 (1972), 6 (1977), and 7 (1982) in Kassel, Germany; and the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Annual and Biennial exhibitions of 1971, 1977, and 1995.
Le Va has had numerous solo exhibitions in the United States and in Europe and has been the subject of major survey exhibitions at the New Museum, New York, 1979; the Carnegie Mellon Art Gallery, Pittsburgh, 1988, (traveled to: Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, 1989; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, 1989; Neuberger Museum of Art, New York, 1990); Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, 2005 (curated by Ingrid Schaffner); and the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Portugal, 2006.
More recently, Le Va’s works were included in Greater New York at MoMA PS1, New York, 2015-2016; Piece Work, organized by Robert Storr, at Yale University School of Art, New Haven, 2015; and Bold Abstractions: Selections from the DMA Collection 1966–1976, curated by Gavin Delahunty, at the Dallas Museum of Art, 2015.
His works can be found in the permanent collections of the Art Institute Chicago; Dallas Museum of Art; Denver Art Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; mumok, Vienna; The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; The Morgan Library & Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven. The artist is the subject of a new scholarly book by Michael Maizels entitled Barry Le Va: The Aesthetic Aftermath, published by the University of Minnesota Press, 2015.