Time Recorded features the work of On Kawara (b. 1933), Lee Ufan (b. 1936), and Hitoshi Nomura (b. 1945), all of whom share a relentless, methodical persistence in recording the passage of time in art since the late 1960s. Working in diverse media, each adopts a workmanlike daily practice of art-making driven by an interest in the documentation of existence in real space and time. Time Recorded includes fifteen works dated from 1967 to the present day, many of which are being exhibited in the United States for the first time.
Kawara, Lee, and Nomura make rational, process-oriented artworks that are many steps removed from the ambiguity, gestural immediacy, and spontaneity notionally associated with the Zen-infused Japanese culture of art making that was popularized in the United States by D. T. Suzuki. Documenting the daily expenditure of brush strokes, recording another phase of the moon, paying testament to a further day’s work completed—each artist’s work in this exhibition is simultaneously numbing and inspiring in its endurance and expansiveness.
On Kawara began his Today series of date painting in 1966 and continues this practice to the present. Each meticulously hand-painted date is completed in a single day and is presented in a box lined with newspaper clippings. The method of notation of the date and the newspaper lining correspond to the prevalent language of the location of the artist at the time of creation.