acting as colossal beacon to ‘bridge heaven and earth, and unify humanity’, ‘the golden tower’ by late artist james lee byars has been erected in venice at the edge of the grand canal. forming part of the venice art biennale 2017 collateral events, the monument can be viewed from a variety of vantage points around the city, with a gilded surface mirroring the golden mosaic façade of the adjacent palazzo barbarigo. ‘james lee conceived of ‘the golden tower’ as a monument to humanity,’ explains wendy dunaway, the artist’s widow. ‘venice was both his home and a metaphor for east meeting west. I can’t imagine a more fitting tribute in these times.’

 

 

 

organized by fondazione giuliani with the support of michael werner gallery for la biennale di venezia, ‘the golden tower’ rises above the rooftops of the city as a ‘symbol of ascension’, curator alberto salvadori posits. ‘the splendor of gold hints at the symbol of the sun but also becomes a symbol of inner illumination, of intellectual knowledge and spiritual experience, a concept of divinity,’ salvadori continues. ‘that’s the deeper motivation in james lee byars’s use of gold…it is the ultimate symbol of greatness and the infinite.’

james lee byars venice
all images by richard ivey / courtesy michael werner gallery new york and london

 

 

the installation is also significant given byars’ connection to the city, living on and off in venice since 1982 and working closely with master glass-blowers from murano. the vision for ‘the golden tower” first began in 1976 and was developed with numerous conceptual studies throughout the artist’s career. towering more than 20 meters high, ‘the golden tower’ is byars’ largest work, and its venice installation is the first to fully realize his intentions of presenting the sculpture in a public space.

james lee byars venice

 

 

follow our dedicated instagram account @venice.art.biennale for live coverage of the exhibitions, installations, and events in venice. 

james lee byars venice

james lee byars venice

james lee byars venice

james lee byars venice

james lee byars venice

james lee byars venice

  • Look everyone my winky was a key!

    GoldMember says:
  • “erected” is the most accurate architectural word indeed.

    buzzoff says:
  • The only good thing I can think to say about the piece is that it is temporary.

    Vladimir says:
  • Someone has some ‘issues’, haven’t they?

    Edifis Quoll says:

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