A prolific music video and commercial director, Bayer's resume includes Nirvana's music video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit", Blind Melon's "No Rain" video as well as award-winning commercials for brands like Chrysler, Nike, and Coca-Cola. In addition to Nirvana and Blind Melon, Bayer has shot and directed videos for Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Green Day, David Bowie, Iron Maiden, Garbage, The Strokes, Metallica, The Smashing Pumpkins, Justin Timberlake and My Chemical Romance, among others, in his trademark style. Bayer has won five MTV Video Music Awards including Best Video in 1991 and 2005 as well as Best Direction in 2005 and 2007.
With a successful music video career under his belt, Bayer has received equal acclaim within the commercial world. Well into his second decade of advertising, Bayer's work continues to be recognized. In 1996, his Nike commercial, "If You Let Me Play", won an Association of Independent Commercial Producers Award for Best Direction. In 2011, his Super Bowl spot for Chrysler, "Born of Fire", received multiple awards, including an Emmy and a Cannes Gold Lion.
New Line Cinema and Platinum Dunes selected Bayer to helm their remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Bayer finally agreed to direct the film after a personal plea from Michael Bay, who also was the producer. With a production budget of $30 million, the film held the number one spot at the US box office in its first week in April 2010. The film starred Academy Award-nominee Jackie Earle Haley and introduced Rooney Mara in her first major studio role.A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) (director)
On March 3, 2013, Bayer opened his first major solo exhibition at ACE Gallery Beverly Hills entitled, "Diptychs & Triptychs". Bayer presented a series of sixteen, twelve foot-tall, female nude triptychs as well as four, ten-foot tall diptych portraits. In an Interview Magazine article, Bayer commented that "the initial effect of the portraits are overwhelming, and a bit spooky." Bayer's understanding of Hollywood's constant superficial dissection and scrutinization of women, lead him to strip his subjects of all artifice in order to provide an alternative view of womanhood in contemporary culture. Exposed full frontally, these women might have been perceived as vulnerable on a smaller scale, however the straight gaze and the enlarged scale creates an intimation of a "new race of superwomen."
Bayer's series discussed the ongoing biological and sociological evolution. For studies of the female form, these women would not have existed in the mid-twentieth century prior to the sexual revolution of the 1960s when artists began to reconsider the body as a politicized terrain and explored issues of gender, identity, and sexuality which manifest in the work of photographers Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe, Larry Clark, Hannah Wilke, Nan Goldin and Cynthia MacAdams.
Bayer treated "Diptychs & Triptychs" like a film project, holding open castings for hundreds of women. Bayer's subjects held poses against a simple white backdrop for up to four hours during marathon fourteen hour shoot days. Bayer enlarged the 4" x 5" film negatives into the series of twelve-foot-tall triptychs and ten-foot-tall diptychs in what was a deeply personal process, one that afforded him the benefit of complete creative control.
The series of work was inspired by a conversation Bayer had with his late father during which he expressed his intense desire to display his viewpoint of the nude form.1992 MTV Video Music Awards – Best Alternative Video – Nirvana: "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
1996 MTV Video Music Awards – Best Rock Video – Metallica: "Until It Sleeps"
2005 MTV Video Music Awards – Video of the Year – Green Day: "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
2005 MTV Video Music Awards – Best Direction in a Video – Green Day: "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
2005 MTV Video Music Awards – Best Cinematography – Green Day: "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
2005 MVPA Awards – Best Rock Video of the Year – Green Day: "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
2005 Kodak – Salute to Music Video Cinematography – Green Day: "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
2005 Kodak Lifetime Achievement Award – Excellence in Cinematography – Music Video
2006 MVPA Awards – Lifetime Achievement Award
2006 MuchMusic Video Award – Best International Video Group – Green Day: "Wake Me Up When September Ends"
2007 MuchMusic Video Award – Best International Video Group – My Chemical Romance: "Welcome to the Black Parade"
2007 MTV Music Video Awards – Best Direction – Justin Timberlake: "What Goes Around... Comes Around"
2013 Camerimage — Lifetime Achievement in Music Videos
1996 AICP Show – Direction & Dialogue or Monologue – Nike: "If You Let Me Play"
1996 International Andy Awards – Nike: "If You Let Me Play"
1997 AICP Show – Cinematography, Direction and Production Design – Packard Bell: "Home"
2001 Clio Television & Cinema – Direction – Mountain Dew: "Showstopper"
2011 Emmy Award – Outstanding Commercial – Chrysler: "Born of Fire"
2011 Cannes Gold Lion, Film Craft – Direction – Chrysler: "Born of Fire"
2011 International Andy Awards – TV: Spot Over 30s – Chrysler: "Born of Fire"
2011 People's Choice Awards – Favorite Horror Movie – A Nightmare on Elm Street