Press Release
15 June 2000
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The Michael Werner Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of three works from the last three decades by the late American artist, James Lee Byars (b.1932 ' d.1997).

This exhibition will feature two works which have never before been shown in the United States, 'The Poetic Conceit'from 1983 and 'The Perfect Death'from 1977. The focal point of the exhibition, 'The Poetic Conceit' is an unusual installation piece. Constructed like a theatre set, a photographic reproduction of Tischbein's portait of a reposing Goethe is hung on a large black silk back drop. This work was recently exhibited in the Byars retrospective at the Kestner Gesellschaft in Hannover. 'The Perfect Death'consists of delicate, hand-blown Venetian glass and Japanese silk paper, inscribed with fine gold text. The third work, 'The New Moon'from 1995, is a multi-faceted wall installation of Japanese silk paper. Although two-dimensional, Byars' intended the viewer to visualize it as a three-dimensional construct.

Most recently, the work of James Lee Byars was the focus of a large retrospective at the Kestner Gesellschaft in Hannover. He was featured in the 1999 Venice Biennale and was awarded the presitgious Ludwig Prize in 1996. His work has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions and retrospectives, including the Kunsthalle Dusseldorf, Castelo di Rivoli/Museo de Arte Contemporanea in Turin, Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, 'Documenta IX'in Kassel, Wurttenbergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Fondation Cartier pour l'art Contemporain in Paris, Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Henry Moore Foundation in Leeds, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, The Arts Club of Chicago, and the Serralves Foundation in Porto.

Galley hours are Monday through Friday, from 10:00 am until 6:00pm. The gallery will close on 14 August and re-open on 28 August.

For further information, please contact the gallery.