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On Kawara -- Silence


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On Kawara: Silence, a quietly rapturous exhibition that opens this weekend at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York, showcases the career of an artist who used minimal means for maximum effect. The artist died last year while preparing this show - instantly transforming his sequential paintings from an open-ended feat to a closed structure - and I had expected, when the show was announced, that Kawara's insistently spare art would feel funereal in the Guggenheim's grand spiral. I was wrong; it is a joy. Like each of his date paintings, the exhibition is somehow awesome and modest at once. It reckons with the grandest questions of being and time, and yet feels lived in, comfortable, and winningly unpretentious. It brings cosmic time down to human scale, and then makes an individual life feel as broad as the universe.--Jason Farago "The Guardian "
Like a true Conceptualist, Mr. Kawara stuck to the facts and also transcended them, endowing them with a resonant appeal and a sense of form as fine-tuned as any Minimalist sculptor's. His art helped shape Conceptualism's love of uninflected information. It fused the movement's basic duality of image plus text into an instantly legible unit before it actually existed. It also bridged the gap between the modernist monochrome as devotional object and the Duchampian ready-made.--Roberta Smith "The New York Times "

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