Published by Walther König, Köln/MoMA PS1/Museo Jumex. Text by Peter Eleey, Magalí Arriola, Ana Janevski, Pan Wendt, Shinobu Sakagami.
Famous for his performances “The Death of James Lee Byars” and “The Perfect Smile,” and for sculptural works that have been described as “austere and rococo, understated and flamboyant,” James Lee Byars (1932–1997) was a legend in his lifetime and an enduringly influential artist since his death at the age of 65. His preferred materials were characterized by strong colors--black, red, gold, pink--and by a sensuous luxuriance, as in his use of folded Japanese paper or silk. This second volume of the two-volume catalogue accompanying the first major posthumous survey on Byars in the US constitutes the catalogue “proper” (the first volume being conceived as a sourcebook), and includes images of works well beyond the scope of the show. Through a selection of more than 125 sculptures, costumes, performable paper works, films, ink paintings, correspondence, ephemera, live performances and documents, the catalogue represents the full scope of the artist’s work. It focuses on the ephemeral and intangible nature of much of Byars’ art, and features several critical texts, including curatorial texts by Peter Eleey and Magalí Arriola; an essay on Byars’ early performances by Ana Janevski from the Department of Media and Performance at MoMA; an essay focusing on his “costume” and performable fabric works by art historian, Pan Wendt; and curator Shinobu Sakagami on Byars’ time in Japan.
Published by Walther König, Köln/MoMA PS1/Museo Jumex. Edited by Magali Arriola, Peter Eleey. Interview by David Sewell.
”I see my autobiography as an arbitrary segment of so many pages of time, of things that I have paid attention to at this point in my life,” wrote James Lee Byars (1932–1997) in 1969. He was then 37, about half the average male lifespan at the time, and accordingly thought it appropriate to write his “1/2 autobiography.” Byars’ art ranged from highly refined objects to extremely minimal performance and events, and books, ephemera and correspondence that he distributed widely among friends and colleagues. Today, more than 15 years after his death, assessments of his art must negotiate Byars’ performance of his charismatic self in his life and art. For his first major posthumous survey in the US, exhibition curators Magalí Arriola and Peter Eleey decided to produce a catalogue in two “halves,” playing on his “1/2 autobiography”: a catalogue of the exhibition itself, including new scholarship, and a sourcebook of primary documents. 1/2 an Autobiography, Sourcebook constitutes the latter volume--a reference guide filled with photographs and documents drawn from a variety of archival sources, including The Getty Research Institute, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives, MoMA and Byars’ own papers. This volume also includes a series of previously unseen interviews that artist and art historian David Sewell conducted with Byars in the late 1970s in preparation for a book that was never published. These discussions cover a number of Byars’ major projects, among them The World Question Center, The Holy Ghost and the artist’s time at CERN.
Published by Walther König, Köln. Edited by Heinrich Heil. Text by Heinrich Heil, Gabriele Uerscheln. Photographs by Claudio Abate.
This elegant volume collects Claudio Abate’s photographs of works by James Lee Byars (1932–1997) as installed at the Benrath palace in Düsseldorf and its surrounding parkland. This regal setting for Byars’ white marble and stone spheres and fabric works makes for an ideal backdrop, as Abate’s photographs so beautifully demonstrate.
Published by Kerber. Edited by Susanne Friedli, Matthias Frehner. Text by Thomas McEvilley, Viola M. Michely, Peter J. Schneemann, Nicola Müllerschön.
James Lee Byars--who was born in Detroit in 1932 and died in Cairo in 1997--was one of the twentieth-century art world's most unusual and elusive figures. Enamored with the imaginary and fleeting, pitting the immaterial against the material, Byars was not just an artist, he was a visionary and a dandy, who, always seeking perfection, knew how to cast a spell over his audience through his enigmatic performances, installations and sculptures. Using sandstone, marble, glass and gold, Byars created classical sculptural forms like spheres, circles, gates and columns. Im Full of Byars reveals his work to be a symbiosis of Fluxus, Minimalism and Conceptualism, that has lost none of its mystery or poetry with time. The volume includes a selection of sculptures, installations and never-before-seen documentation of his performances.
Published by Walther König, Köln. Essays by Thomas McEvilley, Friedhelm Mennekes and Barbara Catoir. Foreword by Henrich Heil.
The works of influential cult artist James Lee Byars explore themes of death, transformation and transience, and are deceptively simple in form, yet pack a tremendous existential punch. Legendary for his performances, sculptures and installations across the U.S. and Europe, Byars today can be seen to have pioneered a stance that combined dandyism with a generous spirituality. Explored here is one of his last pieces, The White Mass.
PUBLISHER Walther König, Köln
BOOK FORMAT Clothbound, 8 x 8 in. / 96 pgs / 24 bw.
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 6/15/2005 Out of print
DISTRIBUTION D.A.P. Exclusive Catalog: FALL 2005 p. 170
PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9783883756189SDNR30 List Price: $55.00 CDN $65.00
Published by Hatje Cantz. Edited by Klaus Ottman. Essays by Viola Michely and Martina Weinhart.
In 1956, James Lee Byars rented a sod farm for a midnight, full moon exhibition of his abstract figure sculptures; guests viewed the work from sleds pulled over snow. In 1959, he abandoned durable materials for paper and fabric. In 1965, a nun performed his A 1,000-Foot Chinese Paper at the Carnegie International. The wondrous story of James Lee Byars begins in 1932 and ends in 1997, and its unique synthesis of Conceptual art, Minimalism, and Fluxus reflects an unending striving for beauty and perfection. The story passes by way of Japan, a place where Byars lived for many years, and where he combined the formal and symbolic aspects of Noh theater and Shinto rituals with elements of Western science, art, and philosophy, developing an appreciation for the transient, ceremonial character of performance as an essential quality of his art. Over his lifetime, he was known for works characterized by an extreme simplicity of form and material that simultaneously appeared astonishingly luxurious. Life, Love, and Death presents a critical review of Byars' oeuvre and traces his development as an artist from his formative period in Japan to his later years in New York--ranging from his performances and works on paper and fabric devoted to the theme of life, to his splendid late sculptures in gold, marble, and velvet which deal with death as the embodiment of perfection.