Bill Barrett (born December 21, 1934) is an American sculptor. He is considered a central figure in the second generation of American metal sculptors and is internationally known for his abstract sculptures in steel, aluminum and bronze. Born in Los Angeles, CA; he earned a BS and an MS in Design from the University of Michigan, and later an MFA from the same institution. Since the mid 1960s, Barrett has been exhibiting his unique metal sculptures in numerous solo and group exhibitions in such places as Switzerland, Germany, Bulgaria and Japan as well as in the United States.
Barrett's work with aluminum began in 1960's. These sculptures were composed of flat, horizontal shapes; their surfaces were bright and clean. In 1982, Barrett was commissioned for the City of New York through Percent for Art to create his largest sculpture to date, "Hari IV" (28' x 32' x 16'), for New Dorp High School on Staten Island. Keeping contemporary culture in mind, Barrett's title for this work comes from a graffiti "tag" that was appearing on New York City Subway cars at the time. The work was well received by the students, earning the nickname "the elephant". The New York Times critic Michael Brenson called this sculpture "one of the most successful public sculptures in the city.”
In spring 2011, Barrett’s commemorative bronze sculpture Lexeme IV was installed in New York City’s Finn Square. The work, which combines abstract and representational elements, has been celebrated for its graceful tribute to the tragic terrorist events of September 11, 2001. In addition, the artist's small sculpture "Lexeme VII" is part of the 911 Memorial and Museum's permanent collection in New York City.
Barrett is represented in numerous private and public collections. Museum collections include the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, CT; the Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; the Knoxville Museum of Art, TN; the Museum of Fine Arts, NM; the Fine Arts Museum of Oklahoma City, OK; the Harwood Museum, NM; the International Foundation Art Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, VA; the Boca Raton Museum, FL; the Las Vegas Museum of Art, NV; the Albuquerque Museum of Art, NM; the Utsukushi-ga-Hara Open Air Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Villa Haiss Museum für Zeitgenüssische Kunst, Zell Germany; and Runnymede Sculpture Farm, CA. His works have been installed on many university campuses – most recently, he has installed work at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Iowa State University. Barrett has garnered praise in Trend Magazine and Sculpture Magazine, and he is frequently called upon to produce large public sculpture.