On Kawara, 1933–2014

The celebrated Japanese conceptual artist has died at the age of 81

On Kawara, 5 FEB. 2006, 2006  from Today series, 1966-2014 Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy David Zwirner

On Kawara, the Japan-born, New York-based conceptual artist has died aged 81. His gallery, David Zwirner confirmed the news on its website. Refusing all interviews and rejecting any portraits of himself, Kawara investigated the notion of time and the progress of human life towards inevitable death. His most famous project, Today, which he started in 1966, saw him producing a painting a day which simply depicted, freehand, that that day’s date on canvas. The only ever variation was when the artist travelled and he used the date-notation system for the country he happened to be in. One of his other best-known series is I Am Still Alive, which consists of telegrams that he sent to various friends and acquaintances, each of which proclaims, 'I am still alive.' 

A retrospective of the artist’s work has already been scheduled to open at New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in February 1915.

11 July 2014