Color illus. throughout. Total of 3272 pp. 6 vols. Thick & large 4to, uniform beige cloth, titles on spines. Brussels: mfc-michèle didier, 2017.
Scarce posthumous compendium of On Kawara’s I Read series, one of 50 numbered copies (+ 10 H.C.). This work is unrecorded on WorldCat, but we located a copy at the Museum of Modern Art (NY).
The Guggenheim’s exhibition catalogue Silence (p. 109) describes the original work: “Like a number of Kawara’s works, I Read is collected in common, office-supply, three-ring binders covered in blue-gray cloth. Inside, plastic sleeves each hold one or more newspaper clippings, glued onto one or both sides of a single sheet of lined notebook paper. Clippings are labeled, typically in red ballpoint pen, with the name and date of the newspaper from which they came; ink is also used to circle, underline, outline, or otherwise annotate particular sentences or paragraphs. Often cuttings that are too large for a single pager are folded over, so that unless removed from its sleeve the article is mostly concealed…
“Kawara created an I Read page only for days on which he made a painting in the Today series. (The number of pages for a particular date varies, depending on how many articles the artist collected that day.) The date of the corresponding work is stamped or written at the top of the page in black ink. In the top left corner, usually in black or blue ballpoint, Kawara inscribed the unique alphanumeric code he assigned each painting, which signifies the work’s place in the order of that year’s production, its format, and its place in order [of] that month. Unlike the similarly bound works I Went and I Met, for which two volumes were produced each year, an I Read binder often covers a number of years, always to a length of approximately one hundred eighty recto-verso pages…
“From the inception of the Today series, Kawara assigned each painting not only a title — the date as inscribed on the canvas — but also a subtitle: a word or phrase related to the events of that date. In the early years of the series, subtitles tend to alternate diaristic observations (“I didn’t sleep well last night”) with current events (“Newspaper guild of New York on strike”). I Read began as a part of this subtitling process. Articles clipped often serve as reference for Kawara’s choice of subtitle - the one for JUL. 20, 1969, “MAN WALKS ON MOON,” pairs directly with the subject of that day’s I Read. On other dates, however, correspondence seems oblique at best. For example, the subtitle for OCT. 12, 1967, is “Dan Graham brought Joseph Kosuth to my apartment this afternoon,” while the clipped article in the I Read binder for that day concerns the Cardinals’ seventh-game World Series win. After 1972, Kawara ceased to use news events in his subtitles, replacing them simply with the day of the week on which each Date Painting was executed (“Fredag,” “Sabado,” “Dimanche”). I Read, however, continued. The artist’s preoccupations with certain news topics remained surprisingly consistent throughout the nearly thirty years of this series…
“The newspaper clippings in I Read are often thought to be related to those contained in the Date Paintings’ boxes, but they differ in at least one vital aspect. The box linings are taken from the newspaper printed on the date the painting was painted, so that the news reported is that of the previous day. The I Read clippings come, instead, from the following day’s paper, so that the events reported are those that happened on the date the corresponding painting was made — a reflection of what was taking place outside the studio while Kawara was making the work.”
In excellent condition. With the original publisher’s wooden box.
❧ Jeffrey Weiss, ed., Silence (2015).
See also A. Rorimer, New Art in the 60s and 70s: Redefining Reality (2001), pp. 173-74.
Item ID: 8754