2014.08.27 Wed, by
James Lee Byars: 1/2 an Autobiography

“James Lee Byars: 1/2 an Autobiography”

MoMA PS1(22-25 Jackson Ave. at the intersection of 46th Ave.Long Island City, NY 11101), Jun 6 – Sep 7, 2014

The late American artist James Lee Byars (1932–1997) was known for his installation sculptures and performances. With a background in philosophy, Byars liked to take questions about finitude as the content for his works, and indeed in many of them, he anticipated his own death. The exhibition title comes from the diary Byars “wrote” at the age of 37, ½ An Autobiography (a performance): the artist sat in the gallery, hastily recording the ideas and questions asked by every member of the audience who entered. He then published this as The Big Sample of Byars. With the artist no longer present the majority of the works in the current exhibition at PS1 are installed in temporary dark rooms; one feels a sense of oppression and terror, along with a strong whiff of the religious—especially around works like the golden Tibetan-style chair placed amid red curtains (“The Chair for the Philosophy of Question” 1990)which imparts a funereal feeling.

James Lee Byars, “The World Flag”, Gold lame, 1991

James Lee Byars, “Portrait of the Artist”, Gold leaf on paper, 1993

James Lee Byars, “The Sphere Book”, Bernese sandstone,1980

James Lee Byars, “The Figure of the Interrogative Philosophy”, gilded marble, 1987/1995
詹姆斯•李•拜尔斯,《疑问哲学之柱》,鎏金大理石, 1987/1995

James Lee Byars, “The table of perfect”, gold leaf on white marble, 1989
詹姆斯•李•拜尔斯,《完美之桌》,金片于白色大理石上, 1989

James Lee Byars, “The Chair for the Philosophy of Question”(detail), Tibetan chair, gilded teak, 1990