a map of the human soul? an object of desire? an imaginary friend? a belief?
Ugo Rondinone: I ♥ John Giorno is a sprawling, multipart exhibition that presents the extraordinary life and work of poet, artist, activist, and muse John Giorno. Encompassing nine nonprofit venues around Manhattan and a total of fifteen partnering institutions, the exhibition features paintings, films, sound installations, drawings, archival presentations, performances, and a video environment by both Giorno himself as well as by others whom he has inspired.
I want to give my thanks to everyone for everything,
Long before the I ♥ John Giorno rallying cry came to be heard resounding through the cavernous halls of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and decades before an array of New York institutions joined forces to amplify these words of devoted affection, John Giorno was on camera, beloved.
I celebrate John’s life and work, now in his 80th year! I knew about John from his long relationships with Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, among others, but mostly I knew of him as the guy behind the Dial-A-Poem phone service that began in the mid-sixties, presented initially at venues like The Museum of Modern Art in 1970.
Over the course of sixty years, John Giorno challenged what he saw as a fatigued tradition of poetry: a dynamic that placed the poet on a page, and the audience in a library.
“I moved here after I got back from Tangier, thinking that I was going to be here for a month, or at the most three months. I had no idea that I was going to spend the rest of my life here,”
“Andy and I made the “Andy Warhol Interviewed by a Poet” in June and July 1963, as a parody, a fake interview, about nothing and for nothing.
Founded by the poet and artist John Giorno in the late 1960s, in the context of the civil rights movement and an increasingly divisive Vietnam War, Giorno Poetry Systems sought to create both new audiences and a new relevance for poetry.
His work fizzes across styles and scenes with an energy that touches on the tang one may experience on a sultry afternoon in Lower Manhattan.
“I chose love and friendship over work, then work and friendship over suspended disbelief – won’t love conquer all?” —Bill Berkson
Life is lots of presents, and every single day you get a big bunch of gifts
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