Saturday, April 11, 2009


The magnficent Death of James Lee Byars (1982--below) is on view at the Guggenheim Museum in a moderately successful show full of great art. The exhibition, “The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860- 1989” includes an exquisite small section of Japonisme in 19th century painting and one sculpture (Augustus Saint Gaudens' Adams Memorial), some wiorks by Morris Graves and then right on to abstract expressionism. From there on, the greater part of the show, it really should have been called 'The Zen Buddhist Influence on the Avante Garde." There are wonderful pieces by Agnes Martin, Walter de Maria, Robert Irwin et al., but who really cares about the theme. Zen contemplation is destroyed by the crowds and the noise in the Guggenheim. In any case just go to see work by Byars and the other art, as always.