M HKA gaat digitaal

Met M HKA Ensembles zetten we onze eerste échte stappen in het digitale landschap. Ons doel is met behulp van nieuwe media de kunstwerken nog beter te kaderen dan we tot nu toe hebben kunnen doen.

We geven momenteel prioriteit aan smartphones en tablets, m.a.w. de in-museum-ervaring. Maar we zijn evenzeer hard aan het werk aan een veelzijdige desktop-versie. Tot het zover is vind je hier deze tussenversie.

M HKA goes digital

Embracing the possibilities of new media, M HKA is making a particular effort to share its knowledge and give art the framework it deserves.

We are currently focusing on the experience in the museum with this application for smartphones and tablets. In the future this will also lead to a versatile desktop version, which is now still in its construction phase.

James Lee Byars

©image: ICC Archive

1932 - 1997

Born in Detroit (US), died in Cairo (EG).

James Lee Byars was born in 1932 in Detroit. He was a highly visible and contradictory figure in the art of the 1970s and 1980s, and remained so until his death in 1997, although he said: ‘The sixties was the only decade of my life. In the nineties it stopped.’ Byars studied philosophy and art in his native city and for ten years (1958–1967) divided his time between Kyoto, where he learned Japanese crafts and thinking, and the US. Until the end of his life (one of his obsessions was to predict his own and other people’s time of death) he remained a travelling presence, forever seeking what he called ‘Perfect’. He died in Egypt, looking for craftsmen who could blow gold as if it were glass. Towards the end of the 1960s Byars had also become an important presence in the European art life, especially after his first exhibition there, at Wide White Space Gallery in Antwerp in 1969, for which the gallery was renamed The Institute for the Advanced Study of James Lee Byars. A film for Belgian television by Jef Cornelis documents the event. Byars was later to participate in Documenta 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Paradox is perhaps the best mode to speak of Byars. His practice unites Minimal Art, Conceptual Art, Performance Art and Fluxus, but he was only a peripheral participant in these ‘movements’. He was searching for both Thought and Form; his intellectual heroes were ‘Stein, Einstein and Wittgenstein’. Until the mid-1970s his foremost preoccupation was ‘Question’, notably manifested in the performance The World Question Centre (1969, also televised by Cornelis) and by the acronym TH FI TO IN PH (‘The First Totally Interrogative Philosophy’). Later his quest for ‘Perfect’ would dominate, with works such as The Perfect Book, The Perfect Thought, The Perfect Death and even The Perfect Question. When he donated the ephemeral performance The Perfect Smile (8 November 1994) to the Ludwig Museum in Cologne it was the first work of its kind to enter a major museum collection. The critic and poet Thomas McEvilley writes: ‘What was really, secretly, happening is that Perfect had presented itself as an Answer to Question.’


>James Lee Byars and Flor Bex, during ' A Halo Around the I.C.C.' in 1976.

>Flor Bex and James Lee Byars

>James Lee Byars, The Black Stone, 1958-1959.Object, laquered stone, 12.5 x 26 x 24 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Untitled, 1959.Other, ink on japanese paper on scroll, 317.5 x 251.5 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Selfportrait, 1959.Other, painted wood, black paper ball (in six parts), 161.5 x 33 x 199 cm.

>James Lee Byars, If you don’t wash your own you stay dirty, 1960.Print, typewritten on japanese note paper, 25 x 17.5 cm.

>James Lee Byars, A White Paper will Blow Through the Streets, 1967.Multiple, offset lithograph printed in black on a white circular paper sheet, Ø 63 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Philippe Van Snick, Letter to Philippe Van Snick, 1969.Letter, sheets of white paper, 2 x (21 x 16.5 cm).

>James Lee Byars, Isi Fiszman, Letter to Isi Fiszman (Where in the fuck are you?), 1969.Letter, three sheets of white paper, 3 x (14.8 x 21 cm).

>James Lee Byars, Isi Fiszman, Letter to Isi Fiszman (3 inventions), 1969.Letter, paper, 34 × 27 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Isi Fiszman, Telegram to Isi Fiszman, 1969.Letter, sheet of paper, 14.2 x 20 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Isi Fiszman, Letter to Isi Fiszman (La Monte Young), 1969.Letter, sheet of pink paper, 21.5 x 27.9 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Isi Fiszman, Letter to Isi Fiszman (if the critical questions were gathered would you then have a picture of the contemporary problems of earth people?), 1969.Letter, two sheets of white silk paper, 2 x (48.5 x 71 cm).

>James Lee Byars, Isi Fiszman, Letter to Isi Fiszman (exciting information on A), 1969.Letter, strip of red paper, 487 x 10-0.2 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Isi Fiszman, Letter to Isi Fiszman (Gertrude Stein went to Antwerp first), 1969.Letter, envelope and three sheets of pink paper, 3 x (24 x 10.5 cm).

>James Lee Byars, Isi Fiszman, Letter to Isi Fiszman (Thanks), 1969.Letter, pink envelope and pink paper, 7 x 16 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Isi Fiszman, Letter to Isi Fiszman (the Skinny Herman Kahn), 1969.Letter, two sheets of white paper, 2 x (21 x 26.9 cm).

>James Lee Byars, Letter to Anny De Decker and Bernd Lohaus, 1969.Letter, red paper, 219 x 26.8 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Letter to Jef Cornelis, Walter Van Dyck and Ludo Bekkers, 1969.Letter, pink silk paper, 9 x (51 x 70.5 cm).

>James Lee Byars, 100,000 Minutes or the Big Sample of Byars or 1/2 an Autobiography or the First Paper of Philosophy, 1969.Book, artist book, 26.8 x 20.8 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Letter to Walter Van Dyck (World's Largest Flag), 1969.Letter, postcard.

>James Lee Byars, I’m collecting questions. Please list yours and send to Byars (Temp. Art. in Res.) Hud. Inst. Croton, N.Y. 10520, 1969.Other, paper, 43.2 x 28 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Wide White Space has been renamed the Institute for the Advanced Study of James Lee Byars, Antwerpen 1969, 1969.Other, paper star, Ø 11.5 m.

>James Lee Byars, Please limit all talking to the sound of O, as preview given by W.W.S. Antwerp to This is the Ghost of James Lee Byars Calling, 1969.Object, print on paper, golden frame, 34 x 94 cm.

>James Lee Byars, 5 in a Dress, 1969.Installation, pink silk, 200 x 500 cm.

>James Lee Byars, 75 in a Hat, 1969.Performance, red silk, 13.5 m x 30.5 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Two in a Hat, Mask and Dress, 1969.Installation, red silk, ca. 12 m.

>James Lee Byars, The Pink Silk Airplane, 1969.Sculpture, silk, wooden showcase, 560 x 250 cm, 175 x 150 x 50 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Isi Fiszman, Letter to Isi Fiszman, 1970.Letter, envelope and sheets of pink paper, 3 x (27 x 21 cm).

>James Lee Byars, Letter to Walter Van Dyck (the world’s first television museum), 1970.Letter, sheets of red paper, tower 29 x 11.5 cm, circles ⌀ 11 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Autobiography, 1970.Video, 16 mm film transferred onto video, black and white, 00:10:00.

>James Lee Byars, Byars at the MET ...invisibly, NY, 1970.Other, pink envelope, two squared papers, 4.8 x 7.4 cm, 2.7 x 2.7 cm.

>James Lee Byars, 100 Minds, 1970.Photography, cut from 16mm celluloid, 15.7 x 22 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Releasing 'O?', 1972.Letter, envelope and typewritten on transparent paper, 3.8 x 8.5 cm, 2.5 x 2.5 cm.

>James Lee Byars, The Wings for Writing, 1972.Object, red silk cuffs with feathers, 2 x (48 x 88 cm).

>James Lee Byars, A and B you ready to do some Fant. Show?, Wide White Space Gallery, Antwerp 1973, 1973.Other, paper invitation card, 12 x 15.7 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Letter to Yves Gevaert, 1974.Letter, pink toilet paper, 348 x 10 cm.

>James Lee Byars, The Golden Tower, 1974.Other, silkscreen on paper, 192 x 60.3 cm.

>James Lee Byars, The Black German Flag, 1974.Object, black silk, 250 x 470 cm.

>James Lee Byars, The Name of the Artist, 1974.Installation, 3 double-sided pieces, black wrinkled tissue paper, glass, wooden frame, 140 x 42.5 cm, 2 x (Ø 42.5 cm).

>James Lee Byars, Letter to Patrick Verelst, 1975.Letter, white paper, 28 x 22 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Letter to Yves Gevaert, 1975.Letter, strips of black paper, 8 x (23 x 8.5 cm).

>James Lee Byars, The Perfect Philosophy, 1975.Object, gold.

>James Lee Byars, TH FI TO IN PH, 1975.Object, wooden toothpick, 5.6 x 0.2 cm.

>James Lee Byars, The Intellectual Murderer Shoes, 1975.Installation, fabric, shoes, 23 x 33 x 13 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Isi Fiszman, Letter to Isi Fiszman (Marx is old fashioned), 1976.Letter, icc letterhead paper, 21.5 x 29.5 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Isi Fiszman, Letter to Isi Fiszman, 1976.Letter, black paper, 25.3 x 14 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Halo around the ICC, Antwerp, 1976.Other, white paper, 29.5 x 21 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Extra-Terrestrial, ICC Antwerp, 1976.Miscellaneum, one-page catalogue, white paper in black cover, 29.5 x 21 cm, 29.5 x 42.5 cm.

>James Lee Byars, The Perfect Kiss, Antwerp 1976, 1976.Other, paper, 29.5 x 21 cm.

>James Lee Byars, A Halo around the ICC , 1976.Performance.

>James Lee Byars, The Perfect Place ( is on Top of Your Head) , 1976.Performance.

>James Lee Byars, Extra Terrestrial (Shadow of an Extraterrestrial Man), 1976.Photography, ink, paper.

>James Lee Byars, Letter to Flor Bex (The Giant), 1976.Letter, inkt op gouden papier, 158 x 177 cm.

>James Lee Byars, The Shadow of an Extraterrestrial Man/The Antwerp Giant, 1976.Installation, black tulle, 17 x 245 m.

>James Lee Byars, Satie wrote nothing as light as his name, 1977.Photography, gold pencil on photograph, 77.5 x 58 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Hear TH FI TO IN PH Around This Chair, 1977.Installation, chair, carpets, black silk tent, 357 x 355 x 366 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Letter to Yves Gevaert, 1978.Letter, golden paper, 597 x 6/12.5 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Both, 1978.Sculpture, marble with engraved gilded text, 275 x 138 x 5 cm.

>James Lee Byars, The 5 Continent Documenta 7, 1979.Other, black silk paper and white square, 110 x 48 cm, 2.5 x 2,5 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Letter to Jan Hoet, 1980.Letter, beige paper, 9 x (14.7 x 15.5 cm).

>James Lee Byars, Q, 1980.Other, small paper confetti, ⌀ 1.5 cm.

>James Lee Byars, The Chair of the Artist at Harvard, 1980.Other, paper confetti, ⌀ 1.5 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Moonbook (Stonebooks), 1980.Installation, artist book, sandstone in display case, 3.7 x 41.3 x 29.4 cm, 175.5 x 146 x 46 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Letter to Patrick Verelst, 1981.Letter, yellow silk paper, 4 x (13 x 27 cm).

>James Lee Byars, James Lee Byars interviewed by Paul De Vree at Documenta 7 in front of 'The Golden Tower', 1982.Audio and visual equipment, audio fragment from 'kroniek', 00:10:05.

>James Lee Byars, The Golden Tower with Changing Tops, 1982.Object, gold-plated bronze, 2 parts, 340 cm, Ø 80 cm.

>James Lee Byars, James Lee Byars, 1982.Book, ink, paper, 24 cm x 24,3 cm, language : German, English, publisher : Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, authors : James Lee Byars & Thomas Deecke .

>James Lee Byars, Einstein, Stein and Wittgenstein, 1984-1989.Sculpture, gold-painted furka stones, 8 x 20 x 13.5 cm, 12 x 14 x 12 cm, 10.5 x 23.5 x 16.5 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Beauty Goes Avantgarde, 1986.Print, print on paper, 52.5 x 38.2 cm.

>James Lee Byars, The Tomb of James Lee Byars, 1986.Object, globe consisted of lime sand brick, 100 x 100 x 100 cm.

>James Lee Byars, The Letter Reading Society of James Lee Byars, 1987.Installation, two 17th century chairs and framed title in gold pencil on black silk paper, 18 x 353 cm.

>James Lee Byars, The Letter Reading Society of James Lee Byars, 1987.Book, ink, paper, 20.5 x 14 cm, publisher : Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Brussel.

>James Lee Byars, James Lee Byars - The Palace of Good Luck, 1989.Book, ink, paper, 22.5 x 17 cm, 187 p., language : Italian, English, publisher : Castello di Rivoli - Museo d'arte contemporanea, Rivoli (Torino), authors : Rudi Fuchs, James Lee Byars and Gianni Vattimo.

>Joris Ivens , Baudouin Oosterlynck, James Lee Byars, Wilfried Huet, GA - Tijdschrift van de Galerij van de Akademie Van Waasmunster, Jrg.9, nr.1, 1 januari 1990, 1990.Periodical, ink, paper, 57.7 x 41.7 cm, 2 p., ill., language : Dutch, publisher : Galerij van de Akademie Van Waasmunster..

>James Lee Byars, Tribute to the New Generation, 1991.Object, a disc of golden cardboard, with an embossed spiral on one side, Ø 1.8 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Untitled, 1994.Object, glass and paper, ⌀ 100 cm.

>Joseph Beuys, Marcel Broodthaers, James Lee Byars, Beuys 2017 - Broodthaers 2018 - Byars 2019 in Antwerpen (Over drie komende tentoonstellingen in M HKA - Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, 2017.Book, ink, paper, 28.7 x 20.1 cm, 27 p., language : English, publisher : M HKA Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerpen, ISBN : 978-907-282-8569.

>James Lee Byars, James Lee Byars - The Perfect Kiss, 2018.Book, ink, paper, 28.7 x 20.2 cm, 143 p., ill., language : English, Dutch, publisher : Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen & Koenig Books, London, ISBN : 978-3-96098-423-8.

>James Lee Byars, Isi Fiszman, Letter to Isi Fiszman.Letter.

>James Lee Byars, Letter to Patrick Verelst.Letter, black-bordered white paper, 29.5 x 21 cm.

>James Lee Byars, Untitled.Object, 6 oysters, 38 x 35 x 8.5 cm.

>James Lee Byars, 666.Object, crushed egg shell.

Exhibitions & Ensembles

> Exhibition: A Halo around the ICC . 26 September 1976.

> Exhibition: Chris Reinecke - Haben Sie Zeit zum Lesen?. 14 May 2022 - 21 August 2022.

> Exhibition: Dear ICC – Aspects of contemporary art in Belgium 1970-1985. 18 December 2004 - 27 February 2005.

> Exhibition: De Verzameling II en een keuze van schenkingen en bruiklenen. 30 June 1990 - 04 November 1990.

> Exhibition: EXTRA MUROS: DE INTERNATIONALE - Museum of Affects. 26 November 2011 - 29 January 2012.

> Exhibition: EXTRA MUROS: Spirits of Internationalism. 21 January 2012 - 29 April 2012.

> Exhibition: EXTRA MUROS: Tracés. Similarities and dissonants. 01 March 2012 - 31 March 2012.

> Exhibition: EXTRA MUROS: Visite Bornem - Gedeelde Ruimte. 03 May 2014 - 25 May 2014.

> Exhibition: James Lee Byars / Extra Terrestrial . 15 May 1976 - 13 June 1976.

> Exhibition: James Lee Byars: The Perfect Kiss. 05 October 2018 - 20 January 2019.

> Exhibition: Joseph Beuys – Greetings from the Eurasian. 13 October 2017 - 21 January 2018.

> Exhibition: Textiles – Art and the Social Fabric. 10 September 2009 - 03 January 2010.

> Exhibition: The Collection. 28 April 2017 - 31 December 2021.

> Exhibition: The collection IV – Summer 2003. 31 May 2003 - 17 August 2003.

> Exhibition: The collection XXIX – Spirits of Internationalism: 6 European Collections 1956-1986. 20 January 2012 - 29 April 2012.

> Exhibition: The collection XX: Jubilee. Who's got the Big Picture?. 29 June 2007 - 18 November 2007.

> Exhibition: The collection XXXIII – The Collection as a Character. 07 June 2013 - 22 September 2013.

> Exhibition: The collection XXX – The Museum of Forgotten History, with intervention by Maarten Vanden Eynde. 29 June 2012 - 16 September 2012.

> Exhibition: The extra-terrestrial man ( The Black Giant of Antwerp). 14 May 1976.

> Exhibition: The Perfect Place ( is on Top of Your Head) . 27 May 1976.

> Exhibition: The World Question Center . 28 November 1969.

> Exhibition: Urgent Conversations Athens - Antwerp. 31 October 2016 - 05 February 2017.

> Ensemble: About the work of James Lee Byars.

> Ensemble: actie.

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> Ensemble: An Architecture for Art - James Lee Byars.


> Ensemble: Artist Books.

> Ensemble: Audiodescriptie - De Collectie.

> Ensemble: Chapter 1: Stone and Paper, 1958–1967, New York-Kyoto / Hoofdstuk 1: Steen en Papier / Chapitre 1: Pierre et papier.

> Ensemble: Chapter 2: Plural Garments, 1967–1969, New York-Antwerp-Düsseldorf / Hoofdstuk 2: Plural Garments / Chapitre 2: Vêtements pluriels.

> Ensemble: Chapter 3: Question, 1969–1977, Brussels-Mönchengladbach-New York / Hoofdstuk 3: Vraag / Chapitre 3: Question.

> Ensemble: Chapter 4: Communication - Letters, books and signatures / Hoofdstuk 4: Communicatie - Brieven, boeken en handtekeningen / Chapitre 4: Communication - Lettres, livres et dessins.

> Ensemble: Chapter 5: Beuys and Goethe, 1969–1986, Düsseldorf-Kassel-Berlin / Hoofdstuk 5: Beuys en Goethe / Chapitre 5: Beuys et Goethe.

> Ensemble: Chapter 6: Perfect Death, 1974–1997, Brussels-Amsterdam-Antwerp-Cologne-Caïro / Hoofdstuk 6: Perfecte dood / Chapitre 6: Mort parfaite.

> Ensemble: Chapter 7: Autobiography, 1958–1980s, Antwerp-Los Angeles / Hoofdstuk 7: Autobiografie / Chapitre 7: Autobiographie.

> Ensemble: Collectie Vlaamse Gemeenschap.


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> Ensemble: Fields of artistic production in the oeuvre of James Lee Byars.

> Ensemble: Het Transcendente [The Transcendental].

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> Ensemble: Huis A 37 90 89.



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> Ensemble: kunstenaarsboeken uit de jaren '80 [artists' books from the 80s].


> Ensemble: NUCLEUS.

> Ensemble: Perfection.

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> Ensemble: Shadow of an Extraterrestrial Man.

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> Ensemble: Spiritual Form.

> Ensemble: Stichting Gordon Matta-Clark.

> Ensemble: The Circle / The Sphere.

> Ensemble: The city of Antwerp.

> Ensemble: The Collection.

> Ensemble: The Ephemeral.