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James Lee Byars Lived Here

Venice Offsite Exhibition

4.6. – 5.7.2009

James Lee Byars Lived Here

Venice Offsite Exhibition

4 June - 5 July 2009


In the exhibition, James Lee Byars Lived Here , a group of major works by Byars were presented n the Palazzo Pesaro Papafava in Venice, from 4 June to 5 July 2009. The exhibition complemented the James Lee Byars exhibition shown concurrently at Milton Keynes Gallery and coincided with the Venice Biennale. It was curated by former MK Gallery Director, Michael Stanley.


Byars was a truly international artist who led a nomadic lifestyle and was a regular commuter between America, Japan and Europe. For Byars the city of Venice represented the union of East and West and it was central to the development of his practice; he created many works and performances in response to the city's rich artistic context and he kept a home there for most of his life.


Works in the exhibition bore a direct connection to the artist's relationship to Venice. The most important of these was The Angel, (1989), which was shown in its own gilded room at Palazzo Papafava. The Angel is an ethereal sculpture comprising 125 hand-blown Murano glass spheres, each fragile sphere formed by a single breath of the glass blower.


During the first week of the exhibition, a late performance work of Byars, Five Points Make a Man, was presented on the ground floor of the Palazzo on 4, 5 and 6 June, in free public performances.  The concept of 'Five points make a man' is one which Byars became increasingly fascinated with towards the end of his life - that an arrangement of five points of any kind corresponds to the five points or extremities of the human figure in the mind of the viewer.



Milton Keynes Gallery's James Lee Byars Lived Here exhibition was one of three projects from South East England presented during the  2009 Venice Biennale presented with support from Turning Point South East. Turning Point is Arts Council England's 10 year strategy for the visual arts published in 2006, and Turning Point South East is the consortium of organisations and individuals in South East England which is developing and implementing Arts Council England's regional plan for the visual arts.


Exhibition supported by the Arts Council England, Grants for the Arts, Michael Werner Gallery Berlin and New York, Turning Point South East and The University of Warwick

Related media and links

Press Release  PDF

More information


Palazzo Pesaro Papafava

Calle de la Rachetta


376430121 Venice 


Admission to the exhibition was free and open daily 12 noon to 6pm.


The Palazzo was a 3 minute walk from the Ca' d'Oro vaporetto stop on the Grand Canal.