Juan Downey was born in Santiago, Chile in 1940 and died in 1993. He received a B.A. in Architecture from the Catholic University of Chile, studied at S.W. Hayter's Atelier 17 in Paris and Pratt Institute in New York. One of the precursors of video, Downey has participated in eight Whitney Biennials. His art is an exploration of his personal experiences and daily meditations. With freehand drawn circles, lines, spirals and curves, the artist presents in his drawings abstract and sophisticated images hidden in his psyche. Employing pencil, colored pencils and graphite, Downey extracted the essence of life and its energy force.
Downey received numerous awards, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. His videos, drawings, performances and installations have been exhibited in solo shows at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Jewish Museum, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, among others. His work is in numerous museum collections worldwide.