August 23, 2017

Sighted: James Lee Byars!



As you can clearly see by the hat, this architectural sketch by E.C. of Frank O. Gehry & Associates exemplifies not only how the skylights of the Weisman Art Museum cast light indirectly to illuminate artworks but also the hope that conceptual artist James Lee Byars (1932-1997) might visit the shining new building upon its completion in 1993.

Coincidence or not?

 James Lee Byars performing "UP?" for "Made With Paper" exhibition

James Lee Byars performing “UP?” for “Made With Paper” exhibition in 1968 at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in New York City, wearing his signature hat. Photo courtesy of the American Craft Council.

“Obsessed by the idea of perfection, Byars produced a remarkable body of work that strove to give form to his search for beauty and truth. Pursuing what he called “the first totally interrogative philosophy,” he made and proposed art at scales ranging from the vastness of outer space to the microscopic level of subatomic particles, in an attempt to delineate the limits of our knowledge while enacting a desire for something more.” – Wikipedia

Heather Carroll is the processing archivist for the Weisman Art Museum‘s collection at the University of Minnesota Archives. This project was made possible by funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.


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