Born in Washington D.C., Beverly Semmes currently resides in New York City. Semmes has had over 50 one-person exhibitions. She completed an MFA in sculpture from the Yale University School of Art in 1987 and teaches sculpture at the Steinhardt School of New York University and the Pratt Institute. Her work appears in museum collections throughout the world including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Denver Art Museum and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. In the fall of 2013 Semmes opened a solo exhibition at Galleria Marabini (Bologna, Italy) on view through January 2014. An exhibition titled 1992-1994 highlighting two of the artist's early large installation sculptures was on view from January-March 2014 at Shoshana Wayne Gallery (Santa Monica, CA). In February 2014 Semmes opened an exhibition of new work titled FRP at Susan Inglett Gallery in Chelsea. An exhibition of the same name, FRP, opens at the Tang Museum at Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY) on July 5, 2014. In addition, Semmes has 2 solo exhibitions on view this summer outside of the United States, at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin, Ireland) and Galerie Bugdahn und Kaimer (Dusseldorf, Germany).
Semmes has received numerous grants and awards, including an Alice Kimball English Award from Yale (1997), a grant from Art Matters (1998), an Artist's Space Grant (1989), an NEA Fellowship (1994-95), a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (1997), and a prestigious award from the Art Critics International Association (AICA USA) (2001) for her exhibition at the Philadelphia-based Fabric Workshop and Museum. Before receiving her MFA from Yale University, She attended the Boston Museum School and the Skowhegan School of Art and received a BA in Art History, as well as a BFA in Fine Art (1982).
Semmes' first shows were two concurrent project rooms at PS1 and Artist's Space in New York City in 1990. Other early exhibitions included a large installation at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, N.C. and a room-scaled work made for the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. By the mid-1990s, she was exhibiting work across the United States and in Europe. European projects at this time included solo shows at such major venues as the Camden Arts Centre in London; the Pecci Museum in Prato, Italy; and the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. She was also included in several important group shows early in her career, such as Plastic Fantastic Lover at the Blum Helman Warehouse in New York City, Bad Girls at New York City's New Museum, and Bad Girls West at the UCLA Art Museum in Los Angeles.
In 1995, the artist designed costumes and sets for the French choreographer Mathilde Monnier in Montpellier, France. This collaborative production--titled "Nuit"--continues to tour worldwide today. In the following years, Semmes had numerous solo museum shows, including major exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL), the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, D.C.), the Virginia Museum of Art (Richmond, VA), the Whitney Museum Philip Morris Gallery, (New York, NY) and the Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus, OH). She exhibited large-scale projects in Japan in 1999 and in 2003. More recently, she has been included in several international shows such as Sonsbeek 9 (Arnhem, Holland), Regarding Beauty at the Hirshhorn Museum (Washington D.C.), Rapture at the Barbican Museum (London, England), New Material as New Media at the Fabric Workshop and Museum (Philadelphia, PA) and Dresscodes (St. Gallen, Switzerland). Semmes has completed three major commissioned works for public lobby spaces: an installation for Microsoft Corporatation headquarters in Redmond, Washington, a large wall work for the Progressive Corporation in Mayfield Village, Ohio and a grand entry sculpture for Musachino Art University Library in Tokyo, Japan. A survey of Semmes' work, Starcraft, Curated by Nandini Makrandi and organized with the Hunter Museum of American Art, recently travelled throughout the eastern United States.