On Kawara—Silence, ed by Jeffrey Weiss, 2015

A densely packed 261 page catalogue to accompany the On Kawara show at the Guggenheim museum which we saw in the spring of 2015.  The book consists of written introductions and examples of the work in 14 sections:  Paris-New York drawings, early New York paintings, Codes, Today, Journals, I Read, I Got up, I Met, I Went, I am Still Alive, One Hundred Years Calendars, One Million Years, Pure Consciousness, and Everyday Meditation as well as six essays by academics and writers.  Reading this beautiful book was an almost overwhelming immersion in the life and work of a unique artist whose subject of time and its endless unfurling as the backdrop for the finite, quotidian, dailiness, and unimportantness of the individual’s time and life were an unremitting, repetitive, and daily focus for nearly 50 years.  Unmarked in the table of contents are the final two pages of the book which on the left side has a small caption in the upper left hand corner reading:

Biography of On Kawara

(June 27, 2014)

29,771 days

On the right hand page there is a small photograph of Kawara from the back looking at a Date painting (January 1, 1975) while sitting at a desk.  You cannot see his face.  A fitting final chapter for a book that  may be the most influential book I’ve read in many years.