Barry Flanagan was born in Prestatyn, North Wales, on January 11, 1941. He first attended Birmingham College of Art and Crafts then went on to St. Martin’s School of Art in London in 1964, graduating in 1966 with a Vocational Diploma in Sculpture. During the same year he took part, along with Yoko Ono and Anthony Cox, in the Destruction in Art Symposium, held at Covent Garden’s Africa Centre, and had his first exhibition at the Rowan Gallery, London. In 1967 he began teaching at St. Martin’s School of Art and at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London, which he did until 1971. Flanagan traveled to New York for the first time in 1969 for a solo exhibition at the Fishbach Gallery, and the following year he exhibited in Japan.
During the 1970s, while primarly devoted to sculpture, Flanagan also experimented with etching and studied dance, taking courses with Carolyn Carlson. In 1977 the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, presented a retrospective of his work, which was later exhibited in a different fashion at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol and the Serpentine Gallery in London. In 1979 he started creating a series of dynamic and often monumental bronze hares, which frequently bore anthropomorphic traits. These were first exhibited in the early 1980s and soon became a distinctive icon of his work. In 1982 he represented Great Britain at the Venice Biennale and exhibited the sculptures he had made during the previous decade.
Meanwhile he was gaining mainstream attention and received many commissions, both public and private. In 1984 his sculptures were installed in Watlington Park in Oxfordshire, at the Equitable Life Tower West in New York, and at Victoria Plaza in London. He moved to Ibiza in 1987 and in the same year was elected a member of the the Royal Academy of Art, London. In 1993 Flanagan was the subject of a major retrsopsective at the Fundación “La Caixa,” Madrid. The show toured to the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes the following year. His work belongs to several major public collections, including those of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, and the Tate Gallery, London. The artist died in Ibiza, Spain, on August 31, 2009.