JAMES LEE BYARS: THE POETIC CONCEIT AND OTHER WORKS
24 JUNE THROUGH 22 AUGUST 2015
For summer, VW (VeneKlasen/Werner) is pleased to present James Lee Byars: The Poetic Conceit and Other Works. This exhibition is one of three James Lee Byars shows simultaneously on view this summer, alongside The Figure of Death and The Moon Column at Michael Werner Gallery, New York and The Diamond Floor at Michael Werner Gallery, London.
Throughout his prolific career Byars pursued with tireless curiosity his life-long obsessions with ideal form and a personalized notion of “perfect”. This exhibition traces issues of perception, language, and contemplation in Byars’ oeuvre: “The Capital of the Golden Tower” (1991), “The Poetic Conceit” (1983) and the performative “Hole for Speech” (1981) each exemplify the artist’s philosophical ideals and his quest for a new, spiritual form of pure communication. On view in the gallery´s cinema is the 16mm film “Autobiography” (1970), a rare example of James Lee Byars’ use of film in which the artist appears on screen for a fraction of a second. Together, these four pieces form a distinct body of work that explores and questions the ethereal nature of language and communication.
James Lee Byars was born in Detroit in 1932 and studied art and psychology at Wayne State University. He presented his first museum exhibition in 1958, a legendary event that took place in the stairwell of New York's Museum of Modern Art and lasted only one day. Over the following decade Byars lived and worked in Japan where he presented many performances and exhibitions, including “The Performable Square” in the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, in 1962. In 1964 he was invited to present three performances at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Byars returned to America in 1967, dividing his time between New York and Los Angeles; by the 1970s he began to spend increasing amounts of time in Europe. Since that time Byars has been the subject of numerous gallery and museum exhibitions worldwide, including Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; IVAM Centre del Carme, Valencia; Castello di Rivoli/Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Turin; The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds; and Fundaçao de Serralves, Porto. Byars died in Cairo in 1997. Important posthumous exhibitions include The Epitaph of Con. Art is which Questions have disappeared?, Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (1999); The Arts Club of Chicago (2000); Life Love and Death, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt and Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg (2004); The Perfect Silence, Whitney Museum of American Art (2005); I'm Full of Byars, Kunstmuseum Bern (2008); The Perfect Axis, Schloss Benrath, Düsseldorf; and Klein Byars Kapoor, Musée d'art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, Nice and ARoS Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark (2012-2013). In 2013, “The Figure of the Interrogative Philosophy” and “The Figure of the Question of Death” were included in the 55th Venice Biennale exhibition The Encyclopedic Palace, curated by Massimiliano Gioni.
Last summer, MoMA PS1 in New York presented James Lee Byars: 1/2 an Autobiography, the most comprehensive survey of Byars organized in North America since the artist's death in 1997. Organized in cooperation with Museo Jumex in Mexico City, where it debuted in spring 2013, the exhibition featured a selection of sculptures, fabric works, performable paper pieces, ink paintings, live performance and ephemera.
The Poetic Conceit and Other Works opens on 24 June and remains on view through 22 August 2015. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11AM to 6PM. For more information please call the gallery at +49 30 8161 60418, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit vwberlin.com.
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is pleased to announce “Strange Alphabet,” our first exhibition with Bart Exposito.
Exposito, who lived extensively in Los Angeles and currently resides in New Mexico, is a desert native and the beautiful subtleties of this landscape affect the palette and spaciousness of his paintings. In his new works for the exhibition, forms suggestive of typographic characters are rendered with sensitive lines over opaque and ambient planes of dusty color. The result is a duality, or contradiction, in the appearance of the paintings: flatness can be experienced as both dense and atmospheric, as foreground and as background, and often these states are indeterminate. Dense, flat panes of paint refer to the land. Atmospheric washes suggest the sky, or something more ambient. These contradictions inform the development of a sophisticated graphic sensibility, a “Strange Alphabet”, as a means to understand how painting exists as it’s own language.
Bart Exposito received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2000. He has had solo exhibitions at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS; Thomas Solomon Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; and the Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles, CA. His work was featured in the 2011 “Greater LA” exhibition curated by Eleanor Cayre, Benjamin Godsill, and Joel Mesler in New York, NY; “Goldmine: Contemporary Works from the Collection of Sirje and Michael Gold,” University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach, CA; and “Keeping it Straight” at the Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA.
“Tennis Court” is artist Xu Qu’s first large scale outdoor installation, and the second installment of the terrace project since our initial collaboration in the project “Control” with architect Wang Zhenfei. “Tennis Court”continues Xu Qu’s interest in studying movement of his previous line of thoughts, in focusing the momentary state observed in the movement of the object. The artist presents a 1/6 of a regular size tennis court for the viewers, and with the help of mechanical power, we can see the unique moments of a tennis ball in this court. This installation prompts us to inquire into the new ways of observation and the right of imagination.
Xu Qu, born in Jiansu Province in 1978, received a master degree in painting and film studies from the Braunschweig University of Art, Germany in 2008, who currently lives and works in Beijing.
The Terrace Project is an outdoor project established in 2013 at Taikang Space, a platform for cross-disciplinary artistic experiment. In collaboration with young artists, architects and designers on the third floor terrace of Taikang Space, it allows them to create works in an outdoor space of approximately 90 square meters, that aims to effectively explore on subjects such as public space in the contemporary artistic discourse, public art practice, concepts of the spectacle, and the multiple possibilities of the artist’s identity and etc.
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