Four Decades (OCT.13, 1970 / MAY 7, 1980 / NOV.22, 1990 / APR.16, 2000), 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 will be offered on Phillips Auction May 8.
On Kawara’s seminal Today series is as iconic in the pantheon of Conceptual art as Warhol’s Campbell's Soup Cans were to Pop or Jackson Pollock’s drips of paint were to Abstract Expressionism. Beginning on January 4, 1966, Today functions as a form of personal diary and travelogue for the artist as well as a reflection of the rapidly globalizing world.
Each canvas is breathtakingly simple in its composition, the abbreviated date of the painting’s execution written in the language of the country in which it was conceived. Kawara’s method of production remained remarkably consistent: painting four layers of ground, sanding each one to maintain a uniformity of texture, Kawara then meticulously lined out his text with ruler and set square filling it dutifully with white paint; any painting he did not finish by the day’s end he destroyed. He completed the work by setting the canvas into a handmade cardboard box, often lined with a local newspaper clipping from that day. The box confirms the object-hood of the painting in its own right, whilst the newspaper anchors it to an existing daily reality. Instead of integrating newspaper into the work, Kawara deliberately kept it separate - a further distinction between the different realities of art and non-art.
ON KAWARA, Four Decades (OCT.13, 1970 / MAY 7, 1980 / NOV.22, 1990 / APR.16, 2000), 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000
Liquitex on canvas in handmade cardboard box with newspaper clippings, in 4 parts
Estimate $1,500,000 - 2,500,000
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