Beginning May 18, 2008, On Kawara: 10 Tableaux and 16,952 Pages, the first U.S. museum exhibition in 15 years of internationally renowned artist On Kawara’s work— and one of the largest major presentations of his work anywhere—will go on view in the Dallas Museum of Art’s Barrel Vault and Hanley, Lamont, Rachofsky and Stoffel Quadrant Galleries.
Providing a rare and extensive overview of Kawara’s project of recording life in the last five decades, the exhibition will feature Kawara’s paintings made at the time of NASA’s 1969 moon landing; seven of his large-scale date paintings done on the day they depict; five paintings recently acquired by the DMA, the Rachofsky Collection and an anonymous donor spanning nearly 50 years of the artist’s career; and a vast array of the artist’s journal-like hand-made books. A true artist’s installation, the exhibition deals in profound questions about present and past, time and history, but in a straightforward, accessible manner.
“The art of On Kawara is rigorous and easily grasped at the same time,” said Charles Wylie, the Dallas Museum of Art’s Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art, and the exhibition organizer. “Kawara uses time as his subject, and he lets us see how it can be literally recorded, experienced, and remembered. Though Kawara is considered one of the main figures in conceptual art, his work has long since escaped classifications and can be approached by anyone with a curious mind and experiences of their own.”
Since the 1960s, Kawara has created paintings, drawings, books and maps that mark time in various ways, but almost always using everyday numbers, words and found images. “A special part of this installation will be a unique sound work where a voice will be heard counting out years far into the future—this sound work will be a first for the artist and for us in many ways,” Wylie added.
Kawara marks out his own daily life in meticulously crafted date paintings and in diary-like accumulations of facts and images, such as maps of the paths he has taken in various cities around the world, and collaged newspaper articles from the cities he has been in. He provides his viewers with a universally recognizable way to stop and consider how life is lived in the world today and has been for the past nearly fifty years. On Kawara: 10 Tableaux and 16,952 Pages will be accompanied by a significant catalogue.
About the Artist: On Kawara was born in Japan and has made New York his base since the early 1960s; a frequent traveler, he is often elsewhere making work. His first North American exhibition was at the Virginia Dwan Gallery in 1967, and his first major solo exhibition, One Million Years, traveled to Düsseldorf, Paris and Milan in 1971. Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, organized a solo exhibition in 1977. In 1993, On Kawara: One Thousand Days, One Million Years was exhibited and performed at Dia: Chelsea, New York; a gallery of his Date Paintings was in the inaugural exhibition of Dia: Beacon, New York, in 2003, and remains on view. The artist’s work was included in Documenta 5, 7 and 11 in Kassel (1972, 1982 and 2002); the Tokyo Biennale (1970); the Kyoto Biennale (1976); and the Venice Biennale (1976). He won the Carnegie Prize in 1991 (for his participation in that year’s Carnegie International) and the Kunstpreis Aachen in 1992. Important recent international exhibitions include On Kawara: Consciousness. Meditation. Watcher on the Hills, part of which literally traveled around the world to international kindergartens, and a joint project and exhibition at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo and the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin in 2006.
About the Dallas Museum of Art: The Dallas Museum of Art, established in 1903, has an encyclopedic collection of more than 23,000 works, spanning 5,000 years of history and representing all media, with renowned strengths in the arts of the ancient Americas, Africa, Indonesia and South Asia; European and American painting, sculpture and decorative arts; and American and international contemporary art.
The Dallas Museum of Art is the anchor of the Dallas Arts District and serves as a cultural magnet for the city with diverse programming ranging from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings, dramatic and dance presentations, and a full spectrum of programs designed to engage people of all ages with the power and excitement of art.
The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.