Commentaries - May 2010

Giorno's first one-person show

John Giorno at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery at 526 W. 26th St. Giorno presented his exhibition, "Black Painting and Drawings." He performed "Lorca, please help me!" and other poems. The show runs from until June 12. ArtSlant says:

For his first one-person show in New York, John Giorno will exhibit paintings and drawings that reveal the evolution of the poem painting. Filling the walls of the gallery are twelve stenciled poems; over these hang black paintings at close proximity. The installation echoes the artist’s statement in a recent Artforum interview: “From emptiness, form arises.” Giorno’s poem paintings serve as one more aspect of his role as a poet and artist—connecting words and images in unexpected yet elegant ways. A video of Giorno performing the poem THANX 4 NOTHING will be on display in the gallery’s project room.

The Black Paintings and Drawings represent the visual aspect of John Giorno’s commitment to confronting audiences with poetry in different contexts—inviting us to rethink how we perceive words and images. As with many downtown artists in the 1960s rebelling against Abstract Impressionism and inspired by Duchamp, Giorno sought alternative ways of writing and presenting his poetry: using the telephone (Dial-A-Poem), recordings (Giorno Poetry Systems) and multiples (poem prints). As he said in an interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist, given the influence of Warhol, Rauschenberg and Johns, he began to see “the possibilities of found images through words. The way I found and used the material, . . . became a poetic form.” The first Poem Prints were part of a Dial-A-Poem installation in the 1970 exhibition Information at the Museum of Modern Art.

Photographs by Lawrence Schwartzwald. For more about Lawrence's work, click on the tag below.

down the line from Williams and Pound

The Pennsylvania Current is now running a story about the legacy of poetry at Penn: "Penn’s rich poetry legacy," by Tanya Barrientos. It features a nice mention of the Kelly Writers House and of PennSound.

a book launch event in which the book was re-published

Back on April 21, Danny Snelson, Tan Lin and others spread themselves across the entire first floor of the Writers House to produce an on-the-spot re-publication event around Tan's Seven Controlled Vocabularies (Wesleyan, 2010).

"Edit: Performing Networked Publishing," organized by Danny, focused on editorial strategies and textual conditions in contemporary writing. It was a roving events series exploring innovative performances, critical archiving, and live editing toward an exploration of editorial activity in contemporary writing and the arts. Featuring a team of poet-editors including Chris Alexander, Alejandro Crawford, Kareem Estefan, J. Gordon Faylor, Kristen Gallagher, Lawrence Giffin, Diana Hamilton, Eddie Hopely, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, Patrick Lovelace, Jeremy Thompson, Sara Wintz, and Al Filreis accompanying Tan Lin in the re-publishing of SCV on the spot in a variety of formats. The event began at 1pm, with a reception and Q&A; that happened at 6pm. The works to be published include "Handmade book, PDF,, Appendix, Powerpoint, Kanban Board/Post-Its, Blurbs, Dual Language (Chinese/English) Edition, micro lecture, Selectric II interview, wine/cheese reception, Q&A; (xerox) and a film.

goodbye Arlen, hello Ike

You like Ike. I like Ike. Everybody likes Ike. Ike for President, Ike for President. We'll take Ike to Washington. Hang out the banners, beat the drum, we'll take Ike to Washington. You like Ike. I like Ike. Now is the time for all good Americans to come to the aid of their country. Ike for President, Ike for President, Ike for President, Ike for President....

It's a gem. A thirty-second television ad from the 1952 campaign. Yesterday, arriving home after voting against Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania primary election, I thought it might be apt to honor mindlessly for a few minutes the candidate who didn't know what party he belonged to until not long before he declared his candidacy for the presidency, whose centrism was real, whose legislative record had been nil, and whose campaign (quite aside from his Vice Prez choice) was innocent to the point of silliness. Then I washed my hands, cleaned out the hallway closet, and breathed the cool late-spring air. Ready to have my political lungs filled up again with the usual soot.

Anthony, Nate, Greg

From left to right: Anthony DeCurtis, Nate Chinen, and Greg Djanikian. Nate, my (and Greg's) former student and later a Kelly Writers House staffer, is now a regular music critic for the New York Times. See his NYT pieces.