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The 5 Continent Documenta 7

Byars, James Lee

(Groningen). (Corps de Garde). 1979
An excellent example of James Lee Byars' scarce announcement / poster / work for Documenta 7.

A typical and ephemeral work by James Lee Byars, 'The 5 Continent Documenta 7' takes the form of several conjoined sheets of folded black tissue that unfold to form the numeral '7' with a small printed title in gold near the upper centre. In reference to Documenta 7 (Byars participated in Documenta 5 in person and Documenta 6 by letter), Byars' intitial concern was that curatorial policy would ensure that the event was both commercial and inescapably occidentocentric and to that end he created this, his exhortation for a global art event that encompassed all continents (omitting Antarctica for obvious reasons).

In conjunction with Jürgen Glaesemer and Francesca Pia, a protest action, 'The 5 Continent Documenta 7' was organised. Byars began by sending a number of small tissue versions of the number '7' to Joseph Beuys who was to 'put these little 7s up all over Düsseldorf at night with just a touch of spit or a very wet kiss'. Later, Byars created larger versions with a title (as here) and as a performance work posted them to colleagues and friends for distribution and display and attached them himself to walls Europe-wide with a sponge.
Four conjoined sheets of thin black tissue paper folded as issued; unfolded the sheets form the figure '7', central printed title in capitals in gold: 'The 5 Continent Documenta 7'; sheet size: 194 x 128 mm (folded), 2255 x 860 mm (unfolded). Loose as issued.
#48406

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