I [heart] John Giorno

June 21–August 5, 2017
Seven T-shirts with poems printed on them, installed along three adjacent walls. From left to right, the poems read: WE GAVE A PARTY FOR THE GODS AND THE GODS ALL CAME, IT DOESN'T GET BETTER, EATING THE SKY, SPACE FORGETS YOU, IT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENS IT’S HOW YOU HANDLE IT, LIKE AN AUTO ACCIDENT YOU CAN’T KEEP YOUR EYES OFF IT, and LIFE IS A KILLER.

John Giorno, installation view, 2017

Five portraits of John Giorno by three artists installed along three adjacent walls. On the left is a painting of John seated in the chair, while on the right are two bust portraits of John in pencil. At the back wall are two paintings of John reclining, depicted from the waist up.

John Giorno, installation view, 2017

People seated in bean bags, reading and listening to John Giorno’s Giorno Poetry Systems Complete Recordings on iPads. On the wall are two digital slide projections titled Archive (Giorno Poetry Systems) by Anne Collier.

John Giorno, installation view, 2017

Press Release

On the evening of the June 21st summer solstice, Ugo Rondinone: I  JohnGiorno—the first major U.S. exhibition about the American poet, artist, activist and muse John Giorno—will open simultaneously across 13 locations in New York City. Ugo Rondinone: I  John Giorno is a work of art by Giorno’s husband, the Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. The exhibition is a celebration of the life and work of John Giorno—an artist whose work has influenced generations. Taking place in his chosen hometown, the exhibition affords a unique opportunity for Giorno’s contributions to be recognized within the canons of American poetry and art history, and celebrates the artist’s 80th birthday. Ugo Rondinone: I ♥ John Giorno is an unprecedented collaboration between leading non-profit and alternative spaces across New York, which are joining forces for the first time to mount a multilayered exhibition on a single subject. Partner venues include: Artists SpaceHigh Line ArtHowl! HappeningHunter College Art GalleriesThe KitchenNew MuseumRed Bull Arts New YorkRubin Museum of ArtSky ArtSwiss Institute, White Columns, and 80WSE Gallery.

Reconfigured as a festival, including installations in galleries and public spaces, as well as a full roster of public programs and events, Ugo Rondinone: I  John Giorno is free and open to the public.Expanding upon the exhibition that took place at Palais de Tokyo in Paris from October 2015 to January 2016, Ugo Rondinone: I ♥ John Giorno has been re-conceptualized specifically for New York, highlighting Giorno’s significant relationship with the city, and his singular role in creating and fostering community here. The 18-part exhibition has been divided by Rondinone into chapters reflecting the layers ofGiorno’s life and work, his longstanding influence on and dedication to his chosen hometown of New York City, and his relationships with artist friends, lovers and collaborators including: Richard Bosman, Phong Bui, Angela BullochAnne CollierVerne DawsonJudith EislerJohn GiornoMark HandforthMatthew HiggsPierre HuygheFrançoise JanicotScott KingElizabeth PeytonUgo RondinoneErik SatieKendall ShawMichael StipeBilly SullivanRirkrit Tiravanija, Peter Ungerleider,  Joan Wallace, and Andy Warhol, whose work will be presented as part of the festival.The exhibition format echoes the symbiotic relationship between Ugo Rondinone and John Giorno, who have been both partners and collaborators for the past two decades. Rondinone describes the show saying: “I  John Giorno is a kaleidoscopic exhibition about the life and work of American poet and Tibetan Buddhist John Giorno, whose rich and stimulating life has woven many threads of American culture and spirituality. Within the dreamscape of the exhibition, one is invited to wander through the juxtaposed realm of art and poetry where image and language build upon themselves in a layered stream of consciousness driven by the biographical, the conceptual, and the emotional.

Ugo Rondinone: I  John Giorno is made possible in part by public funds from the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. The  John Giorno organizing committee gratefully acknowledges generous support from Van Cleef & Arpels, Fondation Jan Michalski Pour L’Ecriture et La Litterature, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and LUMA Foundation. Thanks to Almine Rech Gallery, Brussels, London, New York and Paris; Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York; Esther Schipper, Berlin; Galerie Eva Presenhuber, New York and Zürich; Gladstone Gallery, Brussels and New York; Galerie Kamel Mennour, London and Paris; Kukje Gallery, Seoul; and Sadie Coles, London for production support. Additional thanks to Ophelia and Bill Rudin as well as the General Consulate of Switzerland in New York for their gracious contribution, and to agnès b. for in kind support.

ABOUT JOHN GIORNO Born in 1936, Giorno is an artistic innovator who has been defying assumptions of poet, performer, political activist, Tibetan Buddhist, and visual artist since he emerged upon the New York art scene in the late 1950s. In the 1960’s, he began producing multi-media, multi-sensory events concurrent with Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable. He worked with Rauschenberg’s Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) in 1966, and with Bob Moog in 1967-68. His breakthroughs in this area include Dial-A-Poem, which was first exhibited in 1968 at the Architectural Society of New York, and was exhibited in the MoMA’s Information exhibition in 1970. His contributions are significant to many culturally defining moments: the Beat generation, Pop Art, Punk, Pictures Generation, and the hip-hop era. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris; and Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; among others. 

ABOUT UGO RONDINONE Ugo Rondinone (b. 1964, Brunnen, Switzerland) is a renowned mixed-media artist who lives andworks in New York. Recent solo shows include: vocabulary of solitude, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam;  John Giorno, Palais de Tokyo, Paris; artists and poets, Secession, Vienna; breathe walk die, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; we run through a desert on burning feet, all of us are flowing our faces look twisted at the Art Institute of Chicago; and seven magic mountains, Nevada, organized by Art Production Fund and the Nevada Museum of Art. His work is in the collections of MoMA, New York, the ICA, Coston, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and the Dallas Museum of Art, among others.

Seven T-shirts with poems printed on them, installed along three adjacent walls. From left to right, the poems read: WE GAVE A PARTY FOR THE GODS AND THE GODS ALL CAME, IT DOESN'T GET BETTER, EATING THE SKY, SPACE FORGETS YOU, IT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENS IT’S HOW YOU HANDLE IT, LIKE AN AUTO ACCIDENT YOU CAN’T KEEP YOUR EYES OFF IT, and LIFE IS A KILLER.
Five portraits of John Giorno by three artists installed along three adjacent walls. On the left is a painting of John seated in the chair, while on the right are two bust portraits of John in pencil. At the back wall are two paintings of John reclining, depicted from the waist up.
People seated in bean bags, reading and listening to John Giorno’s Giorno Poetry Systems Complete Recordings on iPads. On the wall are two digital slide projections titled Archive (Giorno Poetry Systems) by Anne Collier.

John Giorno, installation view, 2017 (Seven T-shirts with poems printed on them, installed along three adjacent walls. From left to right, the poems read: WE GAVE A PARTY FOR THE GODS AND THE GODS ALL CAME, IT DOESN’T GET BETTER, EATING THE SKY, SPACE FORGETS YOU, IT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENS IT’S HOW YOU HANDLE IT, LIKE AN AUTO ACCIDENT YOU CAN’T KEEP YOUR EYES OFF IT, and LIFE IS A KILLER.)

John Giorno, installation view, 2017 (Five portraits of John Giorno by three artists installed along three adjacent walls. On the left is a painting of John seated in the chair, while on the right are two bust portraits of John in pencil. At the back wall are two paintings of John reclining, depicted from the waist up.)

John Giorno, installation view, 2017 (People seated in bean bags, reading and listening to John Giorno’s Giorno Poetry Systems Complete Recordings on iPads. On the wall are two digital slide projections titled Archive (Giorno Poetry Systems) by Anne Collier.)