James Lee Byars | ITSLIQUID

James Lee Byars

Art | August 5, 2014 |

003James Lee Byars, Untitled (Performable Scroll), 1967

James Lee Byars

The Department of Media and Performance Art, in collaboration with MoMA PS1, is pleased to present several of James Lee Byars‘s most influential performance works. Byars (Detroit, 1932–Cairo, 1997), one of the most mythic artistic figures of the last century, shaped his persona and career into a continuous performance. Transfixed by the idea of perfection, Byars produced a remarkable body of work—including sculptures, fabric costumes, “performable” paper pieces, film, ink paintings, correspondence, ephemera, and live performances – that strove to give form to his search for beauty and truth. Pursuing what he called “the first totally interrogative philosophy,” he attempted to delineate the limits of our knowledge while enacting a desire for something more.

002James Lee Byars, The Chair for the Philosophy of Question, 1996

In conjunction with the exhibition James Lee Byars: 1/2 an Autobiography, on view at MoMA PS1 through September 7, 2014, this series of performances will take place at MoMA, referencing Byars’s early history with the Museum. Byars’s relationship with MoMA began in 1958, following an encounter he had with a Mark Rothko painting in his native Detroit. Impressed, he hitchhiked to New York, hoping to meet the artist. Byars arrived at MoMA and asked for Rothko’s contact information; amused, the receptionist phoned curator Dorothy C. Miller, who came down to meet Byars, at which point he reportedly convinced her to allow him to hold a temporary exhibition in a stairwell at the Museum. Thus began a lengthy correspondence between Byars and Miller, in which the artist proposed ideas for actions or displays he hoped to realize at the Museum, including those involving a group of performable paper works that he gave to the Museum in 1966.

001James Lee Byars, The Sphere Book, 1980

Byars had moved to Kyoto in 1958, and spent nearly a decade there, periodically leaving for Europe or the U.S. to pursue various opportunities. Influenced by aspects of Japanese Noh theater and Shinto ritual, he created and performed folded paper works at sites ranging from Japanese temples to New York galleries, and made fabric “costumes” intended to join together two or more people in public performances. Byars aimed to explore social behavior, explaining, “I want people to come and develop an awareness about their perceptions, their behavioral cycles, what they eat, their lifestyle.”

more. www.moma.org

Are you an artist, architect, designer? Would you like to be featured on ITSLIQUID platform? Send an e-mail to info@itsliquid.com or fill the form below

RELATED POSTS


INTERVIEW: MARIA STAMATI

Interviews | April 6, 2021

"I am interested in expressing myself artistically into the innerness of people, the relationships between them and the true events, working daily on meanings, thoughts and concerns. Read more


Georgia O’Keeffe

Art | April 4, 2021

The museum is presenting the first retrospective in Spain on Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986). Through a selection of approximately 80 works visitors enter the pictorial universe of a creative figure considered one of the leading representatives of 20th century American art. Read more


Giuseppe Penone

Art | April 2, 2021

Marian Goodman Gallery New York's exhibition by Penone features a series of canvas works titled Leaves of Grass (2013) which are being shown for the first time, alongside individual sculptures made concurrently (2014-2015), and a series of drawings (2014). Read more


Knotting the Space. Aurèlia Muñoz…

Art | March 26, 2021

A notable group of works by Aurèlia Muñoz (Barcelona, 1926-2011) have entered the Museu Nacional, which will enable us to see the diversity and the originality of her techniques and the coherence and intensity of her poetics. Read more


Sign up for our Newsletter.

Enter your email to receive our latest updates!