1969 (1)

Date check: Tuesday, 6 April, 2021. Where does the time go? The truth is I couldn't be more into this, but it makes sense not to have all my eggs in one basket. Other projects mustn't be neglected.

But now back to On Kawara. Back to South America. On the second of January, 1969, in the capital of Argentina, Kawara produced a Date Painting whose subtitle reads: "Compré hoy La Pressa, La Nacion and La Razon en la Avenida de Mayo, Buenos Aires." This translates as "Buy The Press, The National and The Reason today on the Avenue of the Mayo, Buenos Aires". I suspect that's a quote from a piece of advertising the artist read when he bought his newspaper. Or newspapers.

By the time Kawara painted again (though 'I MET' and "I GOT UP' and 'I WENT' would have been ongoing) he had flown north to Asuncion, Paraguay. On the 17th of January, the subtitle concerns the Soviet Union's space exploration. And on the 18th, the activities of students in Tokyo. Both, I have come to think, were positive things as far as the artist was concerned.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

On Kawara'a next stop was the city of Foz do Iguacu in Brazil, although he didn't produce any Date Paintings there.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

The city is famous for the dramatic waterfalls nearby, so perhaps On Kawara made this stop just to see them. Though it's also possible that he meant to make paintings while he was there, but his system let him down in some way. It can't be easy to have paints and brushes - and the right size of blank canvases - all to hand in a South American city when you are only in town for a few days.

By the 26th of January, On Kawara was in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This postcard was sent to Dan Graham,

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

Dan Graham is only the third recipient of these 'reserve' postcards that I've come across in On Kawara's year in Mexico and South America. One: William Copley, artist and publisher. Two: John Evans, who was into mail art. Three: Dan Graham, self-taught artist, writer and photographer, who had just completed Homes for America.

Dan Graham is mentioned twice in the 1967 Date Painting subtitles. On October 12: "Dan Graham brought Joseph Kosuth to my apartment this afternoon."

I've read an interview with DG in which he claims that for a time Kosuth followed him everywhere, including to On Kawara's home, and he couldn't get rid of him.

But the first mention is this, from May 23: "This afternoon Dan Graham dropped a letter onto the mailbox at the corner of Eldridge and Grand Streets in New York." Who was the letter to? I don't know. But Dan Graham was (and still is) a straight-talking guy, who seems to have made a lot of enemies as well as friends in the art world. Perhaps he was telling a fellow artist, or gallerist, in rubber-stamped words, exactly what he thought of him. Perhaps he was telling Joseph Kosuth not to bother getting up that morning.

Perhaps every time On Kawara dropped a postcard to Dan Graham into a mail box in South America he conjured up this picture of his colleague dropping his own letter into the mailbox at the corner of Eldridge and Grand Streets in New York, and had to stifle laughter. I've been told that On Kawara laughed a lot. And I can well believe it.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

On Kawara painted JAN. 31, 1969, whose subtitle mentions Richard Nixon and Vietnam. Then he flew to Rio De Janeiro, where he was by February 6, because he sent this to Kasper Konig.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

That day's Date Painting: "'Maré Negra' na California", refers to an oil spill. The next day's subtitle refers to people being bombed in Biafra, and the day after that the quote concerns the Secretary General of the Italian Communist party censuring the Soviet Union for the invasion of Czechoslovakia, and praising the leaders of the free Czechs.

On Kawara at work in glamorous Rio, with his eye roving round the world, on the lookout for trouble. The sort of trouble that makes it difficult for humanity to realise its potential.

Next, he was back in Sao Paulo to paint
16 FEV. 1969. The subtitle is "CARNAVAL DO BRASIL." This was a Sunday. I have a feeling On enjoyed the party through Friday and Saturday nights. He does no more Date Painting until he flies to Brasilia on February 22. Which is what I've been waiting for since I sat down to write this morning. I say that, because On Kawara stayed in Brasilia for a full week, and all seven days of 'I WENT' maps are reproduced in On Kawara continuity/discontinuity 1963-1979, which was published in 1980. Indeed, On Kawara may have deliberately made them available for public scrutiny for one reason or another.

Before we settle down in Brasilia, '69, let's remind ourselves how On Kawara got there. Starting in Buenos Aires (bottom tack in map below; 1 Date Painting, though another 8 had been made in December of 1968). He flew north to Asuncion in Paraguay (2 Date Paintings . He then flew east to Sau Paulo (1 DP), before going west again to Foz do Iguacu, whose yellow tack is to remind me that he didn't paint there. Then he flew further east to Rio (3 DPs), back to San Paulo (1 DP), then north to the middle of Brasil. The administrative capital of the giant ex-Portuguese colony.


A change of pace then. An entire week. To be taken one day at a time. A story may - or may not - reveal itself.

DAY ONE: 21 FEV. 1969

On Kawara arrived by taxi (I presume) from the airport.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

Perhaps On was tired from the journey. Perhaps the flight got in too late for him to schedule a Date Painting. In any case, he didn't paint one, but instead set out to take a walk around the hotel. Which hotel? I'll come to that.

DAY TWO: 22 FEV. 1969

On Kawara was given a tour of the city in a vehicle. On Kawara on his own in a bus? On Kawara driven around by a taxi driver or an acquaintance? I don't know.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

The single-minded Mr Kawara found time to produce a Date Painting…

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

The above painting's subtitle is nothing to do with the cutting that Kawara has placed in the box. The subtitle reads: "In Jerusalem today, more than 500 people were detained by the Israeli political police on suspicion of participating in the attack on a Jerusalem supermarket yesterday, which killed two people."

DAY THREE: 23 FEV. 1969

On Kawara took a trip out of the area covered by his photocopied map, to a specified address: QL 1/1 CASA 13 PERTO DO LAGO. That address no longer means anything to Google. Although QL is a reference to a district not that far away.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

He also managed to produce a Date Painting. This is not reproduced in the literature. However, its subtitle is: "Viet Cong guerrillas bombed Saigon again this afternoon, on the second consecutive day of their current offensive during which they attacked 18 provincial capitals and more cities and military bases across South Vietnam."

There is something almost sad about this scene. The artist in his self-imposed isolation. A stranger in a strange land, paying attention to those even stranger parts of the world where atrocities were happening.

DAY FOUR: 24 FEV. 1969

On Kawara didn't totter far…

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

Maybe just far enough to find a postbox, in which to drop two postcards. Each states 'I GOT UP AT 9.50A.M.' I know that, even though I haven't seen a reproduction of either of the postcards, because one of the two Date Paintings he managed to produce that day is so subtitled. The other is called simply "VOA". I suspect this refers to 'Voice of America', as this radio station was influential throughout the world during the 1960s. But which DP is which? Which the wake-up call and which the get up time?

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

When out of their boxes, it is hard to tell. Apart from the fact that one has a darker grey background, they seem identical. Equally accurate. Equally finished. Equally remarkable/poignant/deadpan. Deadpan and poignant may seem like a contradiction. The paintings seem deadpan, but become poignant when you realise the discipline and imagination that went into them. Discipline and imagination may seem like a contradiction also. The paintings seem to exhibit discipline, but become triumphs of the imagination when you see the bigger picture. Which is when it all becomes so remarkable.

I expect On Kawara went for his walk in between painting the two pictures. In any case, this seems like the time to get better acquainted with where he was.

Zeroing in on the routes, and rotating so that north is 'up' we get this:

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

Tracing the route on Google, it bursts into colourful life. The block where On Kawara was staying is dominated by hotels. Hotel Brasil. Windsor Plaza, Complexo Brasil, etcetera.


Reader, welcome to a high-rise hotel in Brasilia.


In order to track exactly which hotel On Kawara stayed in - which would be easier to do if I had a copy of a postcard sent this particular week - I revert to an aerial view. See below. If I read the map rightly, it's the one top-centre with the prominent pool. What's now called The Carlton…


Dazzled by the light and staggered by the weight of concrete all around, On Kawara, with one Date Painting under his belt already, seems to have made his way to the junction of Via S2 and Via W3 Sui. As I've already mentioned, at some stage, possibly at the reception of the hotel, he would have posted his cards to Kasper Konig and (I would suggest) Dan Graham.


On Kawara could have crossed the dual carriageway there, at the corner of the grass square, where there is a zebra crossing, but he seems to have walked along the 'Via W3 Sui' and then crossed it further up.


Maybe there was less traffic on the road back then, but I can't quite believe that. Maybe there is/was an underpass that I am not going to bother looking for.

Instead, I will revert again to aerial shot. You might imagine On Kawara making his way from left-middle to right edge of the bottom half of the image. The strip of land between the two zones dominated by straight roads and tall buildings is the Eixo Monumental, the Monumental Axis. This is a central avenue in Brasilia's city design, and has been there, like the rest of the uniquely distinctive city, since 1960.


Apart from patchy grass and sweeping circular roads, the Monumental Axis contains a very tall TV tower. On Kawara didn't go right up to it, except on the day he was given a tour of the city in a vehicle, but it must have dominated the view for much of his fourth day in Brasilia. For much of his city stay, in fact.


Is that where the 'Voice of America' was received? From this needle pointing to the sky, where dwelt unseen Gods?

Having seen so much, On Kawara had had enough of the outside world for one day. He went back to his hotel room, retracing his outward route for the most part. Oh, to be back in his room, paint brush in hand, for a long meditative paint! Was he going to finish the second Date Painting before midnight? Well, of course he was. In fact, I'm going to mention in passing something that keeps cropping up in the On Kawara literature.

Daniel Marzona:
‘If a work is not completed by midnight on the day in question, however, Kawara destroys it.’

Anne Rorimer:
‘If not finished by the close of the day, the partially completed painting is destroyed.’

Charles Wylie:
‘Every Date Painting is made on the day it depicts; if is not finished before the turn of the day, it is destroyed.’

Anne Wheeler:
‘A date painting was begun and finished on the same day that it records; if a painting was not satisfactorily completed by midnight, it was destroyed.’

As if there was any material change to the painting in the last two or three hours of painting… As if each date painting was a race against time, with the artist beginning to hurry as the clock moved towards midnight… Midnight strikes and the artist’s brush is still poised over the canvas with numbers to complete. In a fury, On Kawara throws the brush across the room, sweeps his painting accessories off his hotel table, and smashes a hole in the unfinished date painting while shouting: "

No, it was not like that. The paintings would have been finished calmly and meticulously. Time after time.

And on this particular occasion - if he did so comfortably within his self-imposed deadline - then On Kawara might have treated himself to a dip in the pool. (I have no grounds for such a speculation.)

All joking aside:

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

That satellite disk in the bottom left corner of the boxed extract… Those OK initials… That suffering face… Anything to do with "VOA"?

DAY FIVE: 25 FEV. 1969

I think On Kawara went out three times this day. Once by foot and twice in a vehicle.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

First, enlarge and reorientate the 'I WENT' map:

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

Let's say he first made the small circuit, on foot.

Beginning at the Carlton Hotel, top left, he made a circuit of the Edificio José Severo, which I've marked with a red tack in the satellite picture below. This is a commercial building with shops and banks on the ground floor. Indeed the stop that On Kawara suggests he made, with a small red line, may have been at one of the banks in the bottom right of the image.


The next trip (assuming it was the next) was straight along the Via W3 Sul. On Kawara indicates, with three short parallel lines, that he went into three places having been driven a mile or so. It's a more downmarket area, with supermarkets and assorted stores set amid dust and graffiti. On Kawara might have bought postcards here. Or cigarettes. Or stamps. Or whatever.


I would suggest that he then returned to the hotel and got on with his day's work. Yes, On Kawara made a Date Painting on this day. Its subtitle translates as follows: 'The Brazilian Institute of Statistics has completed studies on population growth in Brazil until the year two thousand, when we will have 225,850,000 inhabitants. By the same calculation, the population, in other years, will be as follows:

1970…………93, 549,700

In fact, the population of Brazil in 2000 was only about 170,000,000. So the Brazilian Institute of Statistics didn't even get close. They underestimated the degree to which a modern population, even in a developing country, could reduce its fertility when contraception was widely available. No matter what the Pope said.

I don't have a reproduction of
25.FEV. 1969. Why not? Well, let's see if I can account for that through what might have happened next. Referring back to On Kawara's 'I WENT', you can see that at some stage on the 25th of February, a more complex journey was taken. Just after the aforementioned Edificio José Severo, On Kawara's vehicle takes a left, then a right, by which time the vehicle is going parallel to the route out to the dusty, down-at-heel shops.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

The first departure from this long road, is to a roundabout where there is (at least in 2021) a restaurant. It seems that the vehicle went past the correct roundabout, turning right, to another roundabout, and had to turn around and come back. To this spot.


Looks like a nice place to eat. Maybe On Kawara had company. I say that because of what might have happened next. On Kawara's vehicle got back onto the west-going route and travelled to a residential area. Off the road, up to another roundabout, then into the estate, area 106.


Note, the route doesn't look quite the same as on On Kawara's map, because On hasn't been driven home yet, by which time he'll have gone all the way around the roundabouts.

It would seem he went into three separate flats in this residential building.


Now why would he have done that? Before having a wild guess, let's go round the other side of the building.

Here one realises that there are two equal-sized buildings, back to back.


But it's terracotta-edged building we're concerned with, the one on the right of the above image, so let's return to that. My hypothesis is that On Kawara was hooking up with three people who worked at the Carlton Hotel. His 'I MET' lists are so non-hierarchical, that one just knows that he is a sociable guy who likes people of all kinds and classes.

No, I've changed my mind. On Kawara is hooking up with three people he got to know when they stayed at the Hotel Monte Carlo in Mexico City, a group of friends who he bumped into again while doing the samba during the Carnival in Sao Paulo or Rio. (I would have to access more of 'I MET' in order to pin some of this down.) They've just eaten together at the restaurant, and now On Kawara is about to present them with gifts. That's to say, three recent Date Paintings.

Rudolfo (full name: Rudolfo Leonardo Francisco Luis Gonzales Garcia) invites the others into his flat, and On Kawara presents him with
23 FEV. 1969. That's the DP whose subtitle is "Viet Cong guerrillas bombed Saigon again this afternoon, on the second consecutive day of their current offensive during which they attacked 18 provincial capitals and more cities and military bases across South Vietnam." Rudolfo is a political animal, and he respects the politics of the painting. He hangs it in his front room where it will catch the light at a certain time in the day, at a certain time of the year.

They go up a couple of floors to where Miguel Flores Sanchez lives. Miguel gets to choose which he would like of the two
24 FEV. 1924 paintings that On Kawara has in his bag. As he is radio engineer, he plumps for "VOA." He hangs it so that he can see both the Date Painting and the TV tower at the same time.

On Kawara notices that Riccardo Santangeletta is quiet as they all take the lift to his flat on the top floor. He does not seem very happy. Oh, he is happy with his wonderful gift. It's just that because it is the same date as Miguel's, this somehow devalues it in his mind. And, also, it has to be said that he is an early riser, and constantly being reminded "Eu me levant as 9,50 horas desta manha" would simply depress him. Perhaps if the day was a Sunday, it wouldn't be so bad. But the 24th of February, 1969, was a Monday. "Who on God's earth, On, gets up at ten to ten on a Monday morning?"

On Kawara thinks about this before replying. "Well, I do. I mean, I did that day. But I understand your point of view, Riccardo. Forgive me for not thinking of it before. Will you allow me to return here tomorrow with a replacement?"

And with those fine words, On Kawara has left the building.

DAY SIX: 26 FEV. 1969

On Kawara did not paint the date. Instead he went out, as follows:

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

First trip out, by foot, to a part of the Monumental Axis. It seems to be an area dominated by cars. Parked cars and cars moving on different levels.


On is not sure why his friends from the previous night have sent him here.

True, the shade of the tarmac is close to the shade of Rudolfo's picture.


But only in some places, depending on whether the ground is in shade or not; is wet or not. On orientates himself by seeking out the TV tower. He does not want to get lost.


Outside the metro station there is a market. Here On will find the real Brazil. At least that's what Miguel hinted at the day before.


Not totally convinced by his outing, On returns to his hotel, picks up the Date Paintings from Brasilia that Riccardo has not already seen. Which is to say FEV. 22 and FEV. 25, being the first and the last of the five paintings On has made while staying here. Then he gets in a car and returns to the block of flats where his friends live.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

On goes straight to the top floor and meets Riccardo. Miguel and Rudolfo are also in attendance. The two new paintings are soon referred to by all as 'Jerusalem supermarket' and 'Brazil's population'. It is clear that Riccardo is keen on 'Brazil's population', after all he works for Brazil's civil service, and this kind of statistic is constantly passing across his desk in official documents.

As soon as this is established, Miguel pipes up: "If Riccardo does not want his
Fev. 24,1969, I would like to swop it for my own 24. Fev. 1969." He explains that it's not that he has gone off "VOA". It's just that he is mesmerised by the idea of getting up at ten to ten. Even if he actually has to get up two hours before that time, five days a week. It would act as an aspirational alarm clock. All the year round.

They go to Miguel's room and On makes the swop. Then On says: "How about you, Rudolfo? Have you grown weary of your Date Painting overnight?"

Rudolfo shakes his head. Wild horses could not part him from it. No need to pop into his flat, then.

Before On Kawara gets back into his taxi, Riccardo asks him if he is sure that he can spare the three Date Paintings. "Do you not want to keep them all together for exhibition purposes?"

"To start with, I did. But, you see, already there are hundreds of them. Two hunderd and forty-two from 1966. Two hundred and one from 1967. One hundred and thirty six from 1968. And, so far, thirteen from 1969."

"Five hundred and ninety two in all," announces Miguel.

"There is
no exhibition space in New York large enough to show them all together. Besides, distributing the paintings around the world was always my long-term objective. To work my way through South America without leaving a trail of Date Paintings would be making that long-term goal all the more difficult to achieve."

And with three bows, On was gone.

DAY SEVEN: 27 FEV. 1969

On Kawara does not have time to paint a Date Painting on February 27, as he has to catch an early flight. However, he does have time to take a dip in the pool.


As he slowly swims up and down the turquoise water, he thinks he can hear splashing and laughing from a nearby pool. A pool that he can overhear but not see into. It must be Rudolfo, Miguel and Riccardo, enjoying themselves in the late morning sunshine.

Each of them loves the set of three Date Paintings, it seems. For they have decided to own them jointly, and to swop them from time to time so as to get the most out of "Today". Rudolfo slaps the pool in such a way that water goes straight into Riccardo's eyes. Miguel laughs. "You beast," says Riccardo, also laughing.

Does On swim on for so long that he is late for his plane? What do you think?

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

So. I have attempted to weave a simple story around the Brasilia Date paintings. I suspect it would be a slightly different story if I had access to the 'I MET' lists for Feb. 21 to Feb.27. Oh, and I really should check out who On Kawara bumped into while sambaing at the Carnival at Rio and Sau Paulo in the days prior to that, in order to maximise verisimilitude.

Maximising verisimilitude. That's what this exercise is all about.

By the 28th of February, On Kawara was in Manaus. Both the Date Painting made on that day and the one made on March the first, are subtitled "Eu estop em Manaus." Which translates into: 'I'm in Manaus.' Maybe there was nothing more to be said. Manaus is a city in the middle of the Amazon jungle, and I imagine the culture shock starts when you're in the plane flying over said jungle.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

Next stop, Caracas, capital of Venezuela. A Date Painting was made on March 8, its subtitle translates into: "Once the most dangerous tests were finished, the astronauts of the Apollo 9 capsule today dedicated themselves to their new task: Examining the Earth, from a height of 160 kilometres in space, in search of hidden riches." Which might have reminded On Kawara of his passing over the endless (if only it truly was) Amazon rainforest.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

The above looks subtly different from the painting made on March 1, because the convention of showing the date in Venezuela - a Spanish speaking country as opposed to Portuguese speaking Brazil - shortens the year to its last two numbers. So in order to fill his canvas in a way that suits him, and seems balanced, On Kawara has had to paint larger letters.

I have to observe that the background in the top half of this last picture betrays a few horizontal stroke marks that I would have expected to have been smoothed over. This is not
a Criticism. I would not dare to criticise.

On Kawara painted on March 9 as well. Subtitle: "Sextuplets in Ethiopia."

Next stop, Panama, where he added to the "TODAY" series on both the 11th and the 12th of March. The 11th's subtitle concerns a boxing contest at Madison Square Garden, New York, while the 12th's concerns Spanish immigration from West Africa: "The number of Spaniards estimated to have left Equatorial Guinea in recent days surpassed 2,000 today with the arrival of 218 refugees aboard an Iberia DC-8 plane at Madrid's Barajas Airport."

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

On Kawara then took a 16-day break from Date Painting. He travelled back to Mexico City, after his six-month foray in the south, and no doubt there were a lot of arrangements to make prior to his return to New York. For all I know, all the Date Paintings made since he left New York were now being stored at the Hotel Monte Carlo. Surely not! I would imagine that the paintings that he'd made while touring South America were sent in batches to either Kasper Konig or Hiroko Hiraoka, but I don't know. Just as I don't know for sure what happened to the Mexico City paintings.

Anyway, here is a reminder of how On Kawara made his way west and north from Brasilia in order to get back to Mexico City.


On his return to Mexico, On Kawara did a single Date Painting in is room at the Monte Carlo Hotel, after being away from it for six months. The subtitle of 28 MAR.69 is an announcement of the death of an ex-President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

This may be the time to say something more about the postcard work. As I say, On Kawara had now been away from New York for a year. He had sent 325 I GOT UP postcards to Kasper Konig and the same number (less two) of a second card to other recipients. The only ones I know about are William Copley (two in August, 1968), John Evans (three in September 1968, plus the following one in March 1969) and three to Dan Graham in Jan/Feb/March of 1969. (That's only 9 in all. How those postcards were undervalued at the time!)

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

That means I don't know who got any of the second cards in April, May, June or July of 1968, though those may all have gone to William Copley. And I don't know who received cards in October, November, December. I think Dan Graham got the cards from January through March, until the second recipient reverted to being John Evans. Just for the one card? Well, I don't think so. After all, a main point of the postcard process was the relentlessness of it.

Day one: I GOT UP…
Next day: I GOT UP…
Next day: I GOT UP…
Next day: I GOT UP…

One person I think would have got a sequence of postcards was
Yayoi Kusama. I picture her in her studio, lying down and depressed. Then she receives a postcard telling her that her friend On Kawara has managed to get up. If he can get up then surely she can! Day after day, her fellow Japanese artist-friend tells her he has got up. Day after day she gets up as well…

He got up so that she could get up. Wasn't that warm and generous of On Kawara? Or is this just my own sentimental notion?

Yayoi Kusama returned from New York to Japan in ill health in 1973, and any postcards may have been lost in the process. I don't think she would have been able to hold onto them for decades, even if she'd wanted to. It was hard enough for her to hold onto her sanity.

As for the first postcard, that went to Kasper Konig for the whole year. Here is the one sent on March 29:

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

I think that card has been stamped by On Kawara as '324', though the information is obscured by the post office's own stamp.

And March 30 is stamped '325', though I suspect you'd only work that out if you had 324.

Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

On Kawara flew back to New York on March 31, but I dare say he managed to pop the 326th card to Kasper in the post before taking off.

Back to the tricky subject of the second recipient. William Copley, John Evans and Dan Graham were all New York artists. I would have thought On Kawara might have sent cards to Joseph Kosuth as well. But maybe there wasn't a strong enough bond between them. Sol Le Witt did get a batch of cards, but not until 1973. And John Balderassi got a batch of 90 postcards, but not until 1974/1975.

Perhaps On Kawara would have sent a batch of I GOT UP postcards to Hiroko
Hiraoka. I know, courtesy of the ON KAWARA - SILENCE catalogue, that he sent at least one I GOT UP postcard to her in 1971.

Of course, all this speculation would be pointless if there exists a list of the recipients of On Kawara's postcards. But I doubt if there is such a thing, because it would have been reproduced in part or whole in the Kawara literature…. Stop the presses! I've just realised that On Kawara did keep such list. It's mentioned in René Block's intro to On Kawara 1976 Berlin 1986, a book that will really come into its own when I write about 1976.


René Block writes:
'Thanks to the exact records kept by On Kawara - two picture postcards sent out daily since 1968 were registered in a notebook…'

Funny that I've not seen reproductions of any pages in the notebook. Maybe that would be giving away too much information in one go.

Anyway, the good news is that one day I will know if On Kawara sent postcards to
Yayoi Kusama. And I'll know that if he didn't, it will have been from the noblest of motives. That is, not wanting to intimidate the ambitious young artist through a display of his own brilliantly humorous, relentlessly grounded, aesthetically consistent artistic practice.

Where are we? Back in New York. With plenty time to prepare for the Moon landing scheduled for July, 1969.

Next page.

NOTE: May 22, 2021

It was April of this year when I wrote the above. At that time, I didn't have the book
On Kawara: Horizontality/Verticality and so my analysis of On Kawara'a trip through South America has several omissions now made good. In particular, the book contains the following 'new' information:

18 January, 1969
I WENT map of Asuncion, Paraguay.
I GOT UP AT 7.44A.M. sent to Kasper Konig from Hotel Uchiyamada, Avenue Pettirossi 194, Asuncion, Paraguay.

21 January, 1969
I WENT map of Foz do Iguaca, Brasil.
I GOT UP AT 7.57A.M. sent to Kasper Konig from Diplomata Hotel S.A., Avenida Brasil, 1040, Foz do Iguaca, Brasil.

23 January, 1969
I WENT map of Sao Paulo, Brasil.
I GOT UP AT 9.09A.M. sent to Kasper Konig from Hotel Nam, Al. Barao de Limeira 204, Sao Paulo, Brasil.

7 February, 1969
I WENT map of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
I GOT UP AT 8.47A.M. sent to Kasper Konig from Hotel Ingles, Rua Silveira Martins, 20, Rio de Janeiro, Guanabara, Brasil.

23 February, 1969
I GOT UP AT 9.39A.M. sent to Christine Kozlov from Hotel Das Nacoes, Avenida W-3, q.c.s.nLote 7, s.h.s. Brasilia, D.F. - Brasil.

(This reveals the actual hotel that On Kawara stayed at was not the one I thought. [No swimming pool.] Mustn't be too hard on myself as On Kawara's map is inaccurate at this point. Mustn't be too hard on On Kawara as the map itself is vague in this area.)

28 February, 1969
I WENT map of Manaus, Brasil.
I GOT UP AT 8.26A.M. sent to Joseph Kosuth from Lord Hotel, Rua Marcilio Dias 217, Manaus, Brasil.

(On Kawara didn't want to get back to New York not having sent a postcard to Joseph Kosuth. Though that would have suited Dan Graham fine.)

9 March, 1969

I WENT map of Caracas, Venezuela.
I GOT UP AT 9.10A.M. sent to Christine Kozlov from Hotel Venezuela, Gorda a Asrradero 30, El Silencio, Venezuela.

All of which means I will be able to follow in On Kawara's footsteps again in more detail one day. But for now I'll push on.

NOTE: November 24, 2021

As I still haven't made use of the above list of I WENT maps, there is no point in asking for further I WENT maps from the University of Michigan library.

Since writing the above, I have come across a few more of the recipients of the 'second' postcard. I now know that Dan Graham, as well as getting postcards in Feb and March 1969, got cards in June 1968.


As the first card that was sent to Kasper Konig was stamped on May 10, 1968, this means that Dan Graham may have been the first recipient of the second card. This would seem to make sense given the friendship between the pair.

In addition, my research into 1977 has turned up a 'George Ashley' as an early recipient.


NOTE: February 2022: I now have access to 'I MET' lists for the first three months of 1969. This changes everything! Accordingly, see this new essay