Curt Barnes was born in Taft, California, and received a B.A. in painting from the University of California at Berkeley in 1964. He completed an M.F.A. at Pratt Institute in 1966 and thereafter settled in Manhattan.
He has exhibited at OK Harris in New York City and other galleries and museums in the United States, Europe, South America and Asia. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bogota, Colombia, and the Whanki Museum in Seoul, Korea.
In 1998 he was awarded a residency at the British Academy in Rome, Italy. Major grants include one in Painting from the National Endowment for the Arts, 1993-94, the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation in 2003, and residencies at Yaddo and Triangle Workshop.
He has taught at Fordham University at Lincoln Center, where he was Director of Studio Art from 1970-76. He has also taught at Parsons, Pratt, Princeton, and Hampshire College in Massachusetts.
His published writing includes the lead essay in the College Association Art Journal issue on "Constructed Painting" in 1990, for which he was guest editor; several reviews for newyorkartworld.com; and a book, Table of Contents, published by Alessandra Gallery in 1976 and reprinted in 1995.