March 1990

Lugo: Exempla, Firenze & Exit, 1990
25.8 x 19cm, 4pp single sheet of folded card in printed envelope. The card opens up to show a photograph by Martyn Greenhalgh of an automatic machine gun which has holes on the barrel to reduce heat. The gun can be seen against sheets of unused musical notation paper - hence the gun with the hole's becomes a violent form of Pan's reed pipes. The image is printed in light green to further emphasise the vegetative aspect of the work.
This is one of 150 signed and numbered copies (on the back of the envelope). VG+.

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Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1990
17.8 x 8.2cm, 4pp card. The front of the card has the text: "TWO MILESTONES/TWO LIVES" in red and then below "Varennes/Vincennes" in green.
The first "milestone" here was the town where the King Louis XVI was stopped when he and Marie Antoinette and their children tried to flee France after they were being held hostage by the revolution. The second milestone is the forrest where Rousseau wandered and had a "revelation" regarding the role of science and arts in human morality which he claimed changed his worldview. Both places changed the history of the individuals and one may argue the world. VG+.

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NYC: Christine Burgin Gallery, 1990
18 x 12.5cm, 1pp typographic announcement card for a US solo show. VG+ although there is some handwriting on the back which seems to relate to prices of certain works.

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Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1989
18.4 x 11.1cm, 4pp red outer folder. Internally a 18.4 x 11.1cm, 4pp sheet with a poem:

KING

ohne
titel

sans
title

without
a head

The poem compares an artwork that has no title to a beheaded monarch who also presumably has no title once dead.
This is one of a series of works which the Wild hawthorn Press denoted as "Poems in folders". VG+.

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Two part, very large, original paper letter - each 100 x 34.5cm on gold shaped paper where the top of the paper resembles a dome. Both sheets are folded many times for posting down to 13.5 x 18cm). An original letter from Byars to Paul Jolle congratulating the latter on some unspecified (perhaps spurious) promotion. The text is written in Byar’s handwriting. The text says: “DEAR GREAT MR J. THE POWER OF THE GR.(?) PLEASE DON'T YOU THINK ONE OF MY XXXXX WOULD LOOK FINE HIGH UP IN SOME PARLIAMENT ROOM I'M HAVING EXHIBITION (sic) AT GERBERS AND AND THIS AFTERNOON / I'D LOVE TO SEE YOU. I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT CH'D LET IT'S POETIC FLAG GET SO RENEWED. I'M HOPING FOR A VERY GREAT CREATIVE RESP. FROM THE BERN INTELLECTUALS? HELP? I DO HOPE YOU LIKE LITTLE SHORT GOLD SUMMER FLAG TOO? REGARDS AND THANK YOU B." The words are hard to read in places but as usual Byars is being both flattering and hinting at a possible commission from the reader at the same time. The "little short gold summer flag" may well refer to the two shaped gold pieces of paper the letter is written on. Byars was always very admiring of the simplicity of the Swiss flag. Both folded parts of the letter are housed in an original 13 x 17.7cm white enveleope on which Byars has drawn a large letter "J" in his starry handwriting style. Paul Jolles was a Swiss diplomat who Byars befriended after he met the artist at the Toni Gerber Gallery in Bern. Apart from being heavily folded and the odd tiny tear at the indexes of folds this is in very good condition and is a typical brief from the romantic minimalist (if with an air of self interest about it)....

Very large original paper letter on two pieces of conjoined crepe paper - opens to 246 x 33.5cm (folded many times for posting down to 13.5 x 18cm). An original letter from Byars to Paul Jolle congratulating the latter on some unspecified (perhaps spurious) promotion. The text is written in Byar’s handwriting. The text says: “DEAR MR J. CONGRATULATIONS. ON YR NEWEST INVENTED POSITION, SEC OF ST. CH. DON'T YOU LOVE ABBREVIATIONS AND NOW AS CHIEF OF CH. WHERE’S YR POET LAUREATE? SUPPOSE AFTER THE FIRST WORD OF THE P.L. IS PERFECT THAT CH. EVEN GETS OFFICIALLY ENGLISH. HOW VERY EXCELLENT TO BE AN OFFIC. POLYGLOT COUNTRY WITH A WHITE POETIC FLAG. I DO HOPE YOU’VE BEEN ABLE TO SEE GREAT ONLY BY NOW. IF NOT CALL JURGEN CH. AT THE KUNST-MUSEUM FOR A VERY CAREFUL EXAMINATION. ALSO YOU SHOULD ASK FOR A SPECIAL PERFORMANCE OF THE PERFECT WHISPER FOR YOU. AWAITING YOUR RPLY. SINCERELY JAMES LEE BYARS BERN.” Paul Jolles was a Swiss diplomat who Byars befriended after he met the artist at the Toni Gerber Gallery in Bern. Apart from being heavily folded this is in very good condition and is a typical and early brief from the romantic minimalist (with an air of appealing for a commission about it)....

Lund: Propexus, 1990 28 x 29.5 x 8.5 cm box with printed bandeau. Internal a book with metal board covers and 320pp. The deluxe edition consisting of a handmade (rough sphere) clay multiple by James Lee Byars, titled “The Sphere of Generosity,” and a blue steel covered book by Eric Orr and Byars. The book contains “The Matter of O,” a rubber-stamped stain of Orr’s blood; “Skull Page,” made of handmade paper using Kozo fibers and a powdered mummy skull with red screenprinting. Pages 25 / 26 were hand-torn by the artist. The book, a monograph / catalogue raisonné by Orr with interventions by Byars, and multiple are housed in a large polystyrene box and slipcased in a screenprinted cardboard box. An overwhelmingly well produced project that sets a high standard for both artists’ publications and artist designed monographs. This is one of the very small number of signed examples. Fine...

Houston: Contemporary Arts Museum, 1990 27.5 x 21cm, 156pp plus red cloth boards and pictorial dust jacket. First edition of this well-researched monograph issued on the occasion of the large scale Texan exhibition which was planned to bring Byars to a wider American audience. The essays and introductions are good and the entire book is illustrated in b/w and full colour plates (mostly of Byar's classically formed sculptures although paper works and performances are well represented too) but Elliott's "Notes towards an autobiography" is an extensive timeline of Byar's career and life and still unsurpassed in empathy. This example has some closed tears on the back and the front of the dustjacket near the spine and some wear and tear along the foldlines of the dj but internally fine. Scarce....

Milano: British Council, 1990
30 x 21cm, 32 pp plus card covers. Exhibition catalogue for an Italian solo show - twelve works reproduced in full colour and texts in English and Italian by Giovanni Damiani. Staples slightly rusty else VG+.

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35 x 25cm, 4pp (folded single sheet of black card) with A the hand-written letter which reads “Brandon ****** standing up is ideal" in gold ink. Date unknown but early 1990s. The work was given by Byars in this form (by hand to Krall). The writing is so hard to read with the embellishments that this is almost an abstract work. VG condition (some minor edge damage to the card not affecting text) and unique. If you can decipher the text then do contact us! ...