The exhibition “Im full of Byars. James lee Byars – A Homage” is a large survey exhibition the Kunstmuseum Bern is devoting to one of the 20th century’s most unusual artist figures.
James Lee Byars (born 1932 in Detroit, died 1997 in Kairo) has a particular affinity with Bern. Repeatedly, over many years, people like Johannes Gachnang, Toni Gerber, J.G. Lischka, Harald Szeemann and many others did much to ensure that James Lee Byars was able to stay in Bern for several weeks at a time. The first performances took place in the 1970s. In 1972 Harald Szeemann invited Byars to documenta 5 in Kassel. As of 1975 he was a regular guest at the Galerie Toni Gerber in Bern. In 1978, the Kunsthalle Bern mounted a large solo exhibition of his works.
The retrospective provides insight into the largest collection of letters and documents from the Toni Gerber collection (which was donated to the Kunstmuseum Bern in 1986 and 1996), and a precise selection of sculptures and installations from all periods in Byars’ creative life (from the collection of the Kunstmuseum and on loan from private and public collections). The show runs until February 1, 2009. A catalog with texts by Thomas McEvilley, Viola M. Michely, Peter J. Schneemann / Nicola Müllerschön, and Susanne Friedli is available.
This video contains atmospherical shots from the opening and an introduction by curator Susanne Friedli. Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland, September 11, 2008.
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