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 On Kawara  (1933 - )

About: On Kawara


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Lived/Active: New York / Japan      Known for: installation sculpture, abstraction, conceptual art

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BIOGRAPHY for On Kawara
1933 (Aichi Prefecture, Japan)
New York / Japan

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installation sculpture, abstraction, conceptual art

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
On Kawara, born in 1933 in the Aichi Prefecture of Japan, is a  conceptual artist who sends postcards to friends with "I am still alive" written on them.  This is only one of his art forms.  Earlier in his career he exhibited telegrams.  Since the mid-1960s, Kawara has painted two thousand "date paintings," each comprised of its date of completion stenciled in white on black.  There is nothing else on the painting.  He paints four or five layers of dark paint on a rectangular canvas and then puts several layers of white paint on with the date.

On Kawara is self-taught and began creating environmental sculpture in 1953.  After six years travel in the United States, Mexico and Europe, he settled in New York City. 

In 1998, the artist's retrospective, "On Kawara - Whole and Parts 1964 - 1995," was shown at the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art, in Japan.  He exhibited, in 2002, at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England.

Kawara's work may be found in the collections of the Dia Foundation (Dia: Beacon, Beacon, New York; Dia: Chelsea, New York City); Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California.


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