Marian Goodman Gallery is pleased to announce Marcel Broodthaers and James Lee Byars, opening on Thursday, October 19th and on view through Saturday, November 4th, 2017. The exhibition celebrates the gallery’s 40th anniversary by bringing together once more a selection of works which were originally shown at the inaugural opening in New York in 1977.
In the commemorative catalogue for the show art historian Magalí Arriola writes:
“It wasn’t until 1977 … that their art practices intersected again, this time at the inaugural exhibition of Marian Goodman’s gallery in New York, not long after Broodthaers’s passing. On that occasion, Byars presented what can be interpreted as an homage to the Belgian artist in the form of Hear TH FI TO IN PH around this chair and it knocks you down (1977), a performative and sculptural work staging the silent violence of absence and death. With his face covered in black silk, Byars flashed a light as he partially opened a black tent, inside of which rested a chair from the 1830’s. Byars then challenged visitors to listen to an immaterial philosophical proposition as it traveled like breath molecules around a room.
Byars’s piece was paired with Broodthaers’s Untitled (1975), a group of objects with labels next to them. That collectively the labels named the constitutive elements of a traditional painting or sculpture—“figure,” “subject,” “style,” “color,” “price”—gives the work a typically Broodthaersian meta aspect. By including “price” among the terms associated with, respectively, an empty wooden circular hoop, a white collar, a pair of leather sandals, a portable organ, and finally a book, the artist rendered the objects as props for the creation of a valued artwork, one ready for insertion into the institutional circuit.”
Marcel Broodthaers was born in Brussels in 1924 and died in 1976 in Cologne. Broodthaers worked primarily as a poet until 1963, when for the last twelve years of his life he made a richly varied, elusive, and influential body of work. Known for his associations in which he explores the nature and meaning of language, word and image, and rhetoric, his work encompasses poetry, writing, books, film, photography, slides, drawing, painting, and sculpture. Broodthaers’ work has been shown at Documenta 10, 7 and 5, Kassel (1997, 1982, and 1972) and at the Venice Biennial (1980, 1978, and 1976). A recent and important exhibition, Marcel Broodthaers: A Retrospective, opened at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2016) and traveled to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2016) ending at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, (KNW), Düsseldorf (2017). Other recent solo exhibitions have been held at Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Bologna, Italy (2012), the Kunstmuseum Winterthur (2012), and the Stedelijk Museum, Gent (2006). Past retrospectives of Broodthaers’ work have been seen at the Walker Art Center (1989), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1989); Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (1989); Jeu de Paume, Paris (1991); the Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels (2000) and the Tate Gallery, London (1980).
James Lee Byars was born in Detroit in 1932 and died in Cairo in 1997. Byars has been the subject of numerous gallery and museum exhibitions worldwide, including Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; IVAM Centre del Carme, Valencia; Castello di Rivoli/Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Turin; The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds; and Fundaçao de Serralves, Porto. Important posthumous exhibitions include The Epitaph of Con. Art is which Questions have Disappeared?, Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (1999); The Arts Club of Chicago (2000); Life Love and Death, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt and Musée d'Art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg (2004); The Perfect Silence, Whitney Museum of American Art (2005); I'm Full of Byars, Kunstmuseum Bern (2008); The Perfect Axis, Schloss Benrath, Düsseldorf; and Klein Byars Kapoor, Musée d'art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, Nice and ARoS Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark (2012-2013); James Lee Byars: The Golden Tower, 57th edition of the Venice Biennale, Venice (2017). In 2014 MoMA PS1, New York presented James Lee Byars: 1/2 an Autobiography in cooperation with Museo Jumex in Mexico City, where it debuted in spring 2013.