New York

James Lee Byars

Mary Boone Gallery | Chelsea

The room is darkened, there’s an object in the distance, decipherable in its geometry yet oddly indeterminate in the half light. Another darkened room, this time a mix of objects—two- and three-dimensional—on and against the wall and in exhibition cases. In still a third dark room a long white scroll is laid out. In its center is a giant black dot, imperfect in shape—a black pearl. The same dot multiplies on the folds of another scroll—yellow this time—placed upright on a high shelf. The Japanese flavor is unmistakable. The total effect is sacramental, obsessive, inscrutable: subdued yet potent. The gallery has become a temple. Presence is regenerated through absence, or rather, absence has itself become presence: the sheer, raw, made presence of Nothing, with Art residing in the total space, the absolutized emptiness. Objects accumulate, of different sizes and shapes—a large robotic figure

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