On & On & On

on_kawara_jun301967.jpgYou have 9 days and counting to see David Zwirner’s show of 40 years of On Kawara’s date paintings. Kawara began painting these works on January 6, 1966, and he has developed a particular set of rules for their creation: he must complete the painting by the end of that day; the date format is determined by the country where he happens to be (Esperanto where they don’t use Roman characters, and always hand-painted, not stencilled); there are eight color (mixed fresh every day) and five size variations; he eventually stopped including a page from that day’s local newspaper in the box.
While working with a strict, uniform, and imposed subject matter, Kawara’s method offers subtle reminders of the act of making, little shoutouts of “I am still alive.”
Just as Dan Flavin’s work uses the barest means to make us aware of space, Kawara’s makes us aware of time. Why do I suddenly have the urge to see I ♥ Huckabees?
On Kawara at David Zwirner, through Oct. 16
On Kawara at Dia:Beacon, the second-largest grouping around. Also check out Lynne Cooke’s essay.
Other Kawara-related posts, including Kawara’s amazing piece at Documenta XI