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Courtesy Walker Art Center
Copyright retained by the artist


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TODAY series
On Kawara
overall installed 10.125 × 105 × 1.875 inches
acrylic on canvas
On view at the Walker Art Center

Object Details

Paintings (Paintings)
Accession Number
N.A.; N.A.
Physical Description
Each painting: white dates painted on a black field. Each box: paper tape, cardboard, newspaper, typewritten paper label. Newspaper is from Stuttgart, Germany.
Credit Line
T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 1991

curriculum resource On Kawara, TODAY series (1989) Walker Art Center, 2002

Born in Japan, On Kawara is often associated with Conceptualism, a way of working begun in the 1950s by artists in all parts of the world. They sought to make art and life more seamless by producing works in which the idea was of primary importance. Kawara’s TODAY series is an ongoing succession of conceptual paintings begun in 1966, each of which was created on the date indicated and in the language of the country in which it was painted. Each painting takes the artist between eight and nine hours–a full day’s work–to complete. Each object, then, is a literal representation of a day in the artist’s life. In this case, five days he spent in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1989.

Kawara strives to place his own activity within the broader context of world events and to suggest the importance of individual threads of activity within the larger fabric of human endeavor. For the paintings, this is accomplished by boxing each along with the front page of that day’s newspaper. Kawara’s art practice, which has also included sending daily postcards to his friends indicating the time he woke up or the fact that he is still alive, also refers to the “reading of the days”–an ancient Japanese ritual that is practiced in order to predict the arrival of the gods.

Text for On Kawara, TODAY series (1989), from the curriculum guide So, Why Is This Art?, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2002.

Copyright 2002 Walker Art Center