Thursday, August 20, 2015

James Lee Byars at VeneKlasen/Werner

James Lee Byars at Michael Werner

Talking about Byars's search for perfection, people do not want to talk about how chintzy the objects actually are, the very wide distance they lie from perfection; for Byars perfection meant painting something round gold. Byars objects are imitations of perfection. In comparison to the capitalistically fueled artists of intransient monumental capital P Perfection, Koons, Kapoor, etc., Byars' admitted failed attempts (though sometimes getting close) is what make them so pathetically and pathotically human: that Byars achieved some level of artistic immortality, still speaking his name today, with these sometimes-above-adequate costume objects is part of their beautiful magical appeal, knowing the shaman's showman behind the curtain is just a man, and is going to die, and did, some nonsensical death like the rest of us,  and within there being some sort of moral tale about a beggar - rather than the alchemist- creating gold from tin simply because he got everyone to believe in it because believing, despite evidence to the contrary, just made for a better world, the premise of every religion, and his objects won't be a testament to perfection or immortality but something way more human than that, something stubbornly willfully misguided.