New York

James Lee Byars

Mary Boone Gallery

For the past 20 years James Lee Byars has explored the medium of installation, usually incorporating himself into each work. His installations are thus not mere presentations of artifacts. Whether seated in a chair writing questions and reading them aloud to a spectator, or engaged in the ceremonial act of setting sheets of gold leaf on fire at twilight, Byars activates the objects within his surroundings. By including himself as part of the artistic spectacle, he reverses the conventional role of subject/object by inverting the object (that which is beheld) into another subject (a beholder). This transformation results in a reciprocal confrontation between two subjects rather than the traditional, unidirectional subject/object relationship.

Byars’ recent installation consisted of objects rendered in a Minimalist vocabulary and placed in a spare but dramatic setting. Two lava spheres of

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