Gilt-Edge Art

08.16.123:00 PM ET

Transcendent Artifice

The Daily Pic: James Lee Byars crafted art with the force of a fetish.

This is “The Monument to Cleopatra”, a gilded marble solid made by the late James Lee Byars in 1988, now on view all by itself at the Michael Werner gallery uptown in New York. The piece has some of the quasi- (or pseudo-) mystical force of the monolith in Kubrick’s 2001. Whether or not you buy its apparent claims to transcendence, you have to credit Byars with having captured the feel of a fetish. 

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