Mar Villaespesa

  • James Lee Byars

    In the first room of the gallery, painted entirely black, at the exact center of the front wall, the letters IS were painted in gold. Was this tangible and absolute affirmation a question or a mere redundancy—a tautology in the question: is IS IS? Or was it a paradox in that the present affirmation of IS cannot be affirmed or defined, because it is indefinable?

    The vernissage was officiated by James Lee Byars (who on another occasion wrote “I am an am”), dressed in a suit of gold, his head covered in black scarf and top hat, positioned between the IS and the end of the room. This entrance opens


    We need history, but not the way a spoiled loafer in the garden of knowledge needs it.
    —Friedrich Nietzsche, preface to Of the Use and Abuse of History

    A politician’s duty is to try to integrate in a formula of government, in a formula of action, in a political act, the most discordant and conflicting factors that would lead to a crisis in the life of society. . . . The crisis is thus channeled toward a solution—even if the solution consists of breaking down the problem into many others, as happens in other spheres of application of the human intelligence.
    —Manuel Azaña, speech given in Barcelona,