|Mary Bauermeister was born in Frankfurt, Germany to Wolf Bauermeister, a professor of genetics and anthropology, and Laura Bauermeister, a singer.
Mary Bauermeister was artistically influenced in secondary school (1946–54) by her drawing teacher, Günter Ott. In 1960, in her studio at Lintgasse 28 in Cologne, she launched a series of gatherings of members of the evolving global artistic movement Fluxus. At her invitation, avant-garde poets, composers and visual artists such as Hans G. Helm, David Tudor, John Cage, Christo, Wolf Vostell, George Brecht, and Nam June Paik organized unconventional concerts of the "newest music", readings, exhibits, and actions. These activities have been described as "comparatively non-hierarchical exchanges of information across national, disciplinary and age boundaries", contributing in that way to the character of the Fluxus movement which had been developing during the 1950s.
In 1961, she took part in Karlheinz Stockhausen's composition course at the Internationalen Ferienkursen für Neue Musik in Darmstadt. Later that same year she collaborated with Stockhausen in a theatre piece titled Originale (Originals), which was given twelve performances at the Theater am Dom, Cologne, from October 26 to November 6, 1961. Amongst the performers were Bauermeister herself (as The Painter), Nam June Paik (Actions), David Tudor (Piano and Percussion), and Hans G. Helms (The Poet).
In 1962 she had her first solo exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam with a simultaneous day-long performance of electronic music under Stockhausen's direction. On April 3, 1967, in San Francisco, she married Stockhausen, with whom she had two children: Julika and Simon . They were divorced in 1972. She has two younger daughters, Sophie (father David Johnson) and Esther (born 1974, father Josef Halevi).
Drawn by the vitality of the Pop Art movement, in October 1962 Bauermeister relocated to New York City. In the artistic circles of Pop Art, she maintained friendships with Robert Rausenberg, and Jasper Johns. In New York Bauermeister enjoyed considerable artistic success and since 1964 she has exhibited regularly at the Galeria Bonino on 57th Street.
In the 1970s, Mary Bauermeister returned to Germany and began to occupy herself with marginal sciences, for example Geomacy, the science of energy structures in the earth. She used the knowledge she garnered from these studies for the planning of gardens, which she implemented for public and private clients throughout the world. The artist now lives in Rösrath near Cologne. On the occasion of her 70th birthday in September 2004, the Cologne Museum Ludwig acquired her 1963 wall installation, Needless Needles, and arranged a display of the work for several months.