20 Mar UNTITLED (WHERE’S YR POET LAUREATE?). c. 1990. ORIGINAL HUGE HANDWRITTEN LETTER.
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).