Bryan Hunt was born on June 7, 1947, in Terre Haute, Indiana, and originally aspired to become an architect. Having completed his studies at the University of South Florida in 1967, he worked at the Kennedy Space Center as an assistant engineer while dedicating his spare time to painting. In the autumn of 1968, he moved to Los Angeles and enrolled in the Otis Art Institute, completing his studies in 1971. The following year he moved to New York to join the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum. He returned to Los Angeles in 1973 and continued his artistic research, supporting himself with odd jobs, including carpentry. Confined to his bed after a prolonged illness, he became familiar with the work of Roland Barthes, Jorge Luis Borges, Joseph Campbell, and Jean Paul Sartre, and was greatly influenced by their writings. At the same time he became interested in the art of Barnett Newman and Land Art, and became aware of the strong hold that Minimalism had on the national art scene.

In 1974 he made five important sculptures that shifted his work in a different direction and established a solid base for his art over the next few years, a period marked by prolific creative production. His works, Empire State with Hindenburg (1974), Nankow Pass (Wall of China) (1974), Tower of Babel (1974), and Hoover Dam (1975), and the first of a series of airships combining art, science, technology, and philosophy, differed radically from the sculptures he had exhibited hitherto in galleries and museums. In the years that followed, he produced the Lakes series, simple flat bronze surfaces that reproduced the surface of lakes taken from topographic maps; the Quarries, sculptures, whose cuts and engravings suggested quarried stone; the Airships, in which the form of the dirigibles became increasingly abstracted; and the Waterfall series, where the surface was textured in the manner of Auguste Rodin or Alberto Giacometti.

Hunt was featured at the 1980 Venice Biennale and has appeared in many solo and group shows. His work belongs to some of the most important private and public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. The artist lives and works in New York.