Byars began to explore unusual and luxurious materials in his later work, such as the present lot. The gold foil paper in reminiscent of precious gold leaf, which is often used in religious settings in East and West.

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Additional Information

Museum of Modern Art, New York
Walker Art Center, Minnesota
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
Brandhorst Museum, Munich
Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona
Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Turin

This lot ships from Los Angeles, CA, US.

2014: “Anish Kapoor – James Lee Byars”, Galerie Kamel Mennour, Paris
2014: “James Lee Byars: 1/2 an Autobiography”, MoMA PS1, New York
2013: “Klein / Byars / Kapoor”, Musee d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, Nice
2012: “The Monument to Cleopatra”, Michael Werner Gallery, New York
2011: “Ordinary Madness”, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

Eugenia Butler Collection
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner

Red Letter [Sold at Ketterer Kunst München, Saturday, June 20, 2009, $11,909]
The Perfect Tear [Sold at Ketterer Kunst München, Saturday, June 20, 2009, $13,174]
Ohne Titel [Villa Grisebach Auktionen GmbH, Saturday, May 31, 2008, $26,663]

Crack on bottom of frame. Please contact for more information on this work.

About James Lee Byars

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James Lee Byars (American, 1932-1997) was a sculptor and performance and installation artist. He travelled widely, particularly in Asia, where he was influenced by oriental art and mysticism. Byars drew on Japanese Zen philosophy and Noh theatre in his early performance art. Paper held great significance in Byars’ oeuvre. He created folding paper sculptures that he unfolded as performance pieces, such as The Performable Square, a giant piece of paper that folded into a small cube, which he unveiled at the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, in 1964. Byars, however, was also interested in art on a small scale, such as correspondence art, since he was fascinated by the possibility of collapsing objects into compact, yet metaphorically loaded, forms.

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Untitled, Circa 1970s
Lot Number 45
Black pen on gold foil paper
15 x 78 in (38.1 x 198.12 cm)

Online bidding for this work ended on October 15, 2014 at 5:00pm ET.

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James Lee Byars
  • Dimensions
    15 x 78 in (38.1 x 198.12 cm)