Juan Downey was born in Santiago de Chile. He studied Architecture at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. In 1965 he moved to the United States to exhibit at the Organization of the American States (OAS), Washington DC. In 1969 he moved permanently to New York City, where he successfully accomplished his artistic career and produced the largest part of his body of artwork (having one-man exhibitions at Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA, and the Jewish Museum, among others). He received several grants: two from the Guggenheim Foundation, and others from the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT, Cambridge, MA; the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He taught Art at Hunter College and Architecture at Pratt Institute. He lived among many Indian tribes, among them, the Yanomami, in the Amazon Rain Forest (for eight months, in 1976, with his wife and youngest daughter, Elizabeth), where he filmed many videotapes and produced his Meditation drawings. In 1993 Juan Downey died at the age of 53 in his home/studio in New York.