Because of his recourse to language, photography and systems of information, On Kawara is often described as a key figure in the history of Conceptual art. Yet his work stands apart in its devotion to painting and its existential reach. On Kawara – Silence is published in conjunction with a major exhibition of Kawara’s post-1964 work at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Like the exhibition itself, the structure of the book was devised in close collaboration with the late artist. The exhibition catalogue contains essays on Kawara’s work by leading scholars and critics in various fields, including art history, literary studies and cultural anthropology. It also includes substantial, authoritative descriptions of every category of his production-the first time such comprehensive information has appeared in print. Richly illustrated, On Kawara – Silence reproduces many examples of the Date Paintings (Today), calendars (One Hundred Years and One Million Years), postcards (I Got Up), telegrams (I Am Still Alive), news cuttings (I Read), maps (I Went) and lists (I Met) that comprised the artist’s practice beginning in the mid-1960s. Among other groups of works, the book includes images of the 97 Date Paintings (accompanied by their newspaper-lined storage boxes) that Kawara produced during a three-month run of daily painting in 1970. The catalogue also contains reproductions of paintings and drawings produced in Paris and New York in the years that precede the works for which Kawara is best known, as well as rare images of materials related to his working process. The volume is published in four differently colored covers. Text by Jeffrey Weiss, Daniel Buren, Whitney Davis, Maria Gough, Ben Highmore, Tom McCarthy, Susan Stewart and Anne Wheeler.
On Kawara was born in Japan in 1933. During the 1950s he was a prominent member of the postwar Tokyo avant-garde, producing figurative work in a late-Surrealist style. Kawara left Japan in 1959, traveling to Mexico City, Paris and New York, where he settled in 1964. By 1966 he had devoted his work solely to the schematic representation of time and place through calendars, maps, lists, postcards and telegrams. Kawara’s primary body of work, which occupied him until his death in 2014, is the Today series, a sequence of paintings produced according to strict protocols of size, color and technique. An incessant traveler, the artist produced Date Paintings in 136 cities and various languages.
In their stunning simplicity, the famous colored rectangle paintings by Mark Rothko suggest, evoke, and endlessly enthrall. This richly illustrated book reproduces in full color one hundred of Rothko’s paintings, prints, and drawings. The volume features four commentaries by art experts who explore various formal aspects of Rothko’s work, interviews with contemporary artists who reflect on Rothko’s legacy to post-New York School abstraction, and a chronology of the Russian-born artist’s life from 1903 to 1970. Among the contributors to this book is John Gage, who considers Rothko’s use of color in the art-historical context of color theory as well as the philosophical content of Rothko’s work. Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, a conservator who specializes in Rothko, discusses the pictorial surface of the artist’s large canvases, including the effects of his brushwork, layering, and reflectance. Barbara Novak and Brian O’Doherty treat the element of darkness in Rothko’s late work in relation to his ideas about tragedy, taking special notice of the Houston Chapel commission and the last paintings of 1968-70. And Jeffrey Weiss addresses the nature of pictorial space in Rothko’s art, emphasizing metaphors of urban space rather than landscape paintings, with which Rothko’s work is more commonly compared. This book is the catalogue for the first major American retrospective of the work of Mark Rothko in twenty years. The exhibit opens at the National Gallery of Art on May 3, 1998, and then travels to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
The seclusion of islands has long made them ideal screens for our fantasies and terrors, choice locations for military and scientific assays, and perfect settings for escapes, incarcerations and battles for survival. In consideration of these dynamics, Cabinet38 features Julia Wolcott discussing islands in science fiction; Jeffrey Kastner on being marooned; Janet Connelly on West Berlin as an island; Simon Rezak on island penal colonies; the story of the “Chinese Princess” Der Ling, a onetime student of Isadora Duncan who set up court on a Mexican island in the 1920s; and an artist project by Jeremy Drummond. Off-the-island treasures include Anthony Grafton on the Last Supper’s culinary legacy; Aaron Schuster on cinematic sneezes; Jonathan Hardy on the Spanish urban grid; Maggie Nelson on the color red; George Pendle on the first computer dating system; Allen S. Weiss on Japanese garden design; and an artist project by Alejandro Cesarco.
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