Finding myself in an empty studio for the last three months, I resorted to an intimate work: drawing poems and brushing sunsets and moonrise paintings. This is a good time for me to work in silence—cocooning myself into my own time, these two pastimes I love most and tire of least.
The Mattituck paintings show the view from my studio window across the Long Island Sound. My first summer in Mattituck was a revelation, forcing me to examine my surroundings with the freshness of a friendly alien. Every day, just when the twilight started, John [Giorno] and I would set our chairs in position and experience a new sunset, a magical illumination of the ordinary—lucid and lyrical. Looking at the sunset makes one feel that the physical and the spiritual are not separate. Like a diarist, I record the living universe: this season, this day, this hour, this sound in the grass, this crashing wave, this sunset, this end of the day, this silence.
In the middle of the AIDS crisis in 1989, I turned away from grief and found in nature a spiritual road map for solace, regeneration, and inspiration. In nature, you enter a space where the sacred and profane, the mystical and the mundane, vibrate against one another.
There is not much to say about this new group of paintings. They exist to be looked at—to let go of words and look at what is in front of our eyes. An artist is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with the visual. — Ugo Rondinone, May 2020
Collected in a 600-plus-page volume, this co-publication of Primary Information and PrintedMatter contains all twenty issues of the newsprint magazine edited by Robinson, Edit DeAk, and JoshuaCohn—who would leave after issue 7—between 1973 and 1978.
(DeAk, Robinson, Sol LeWitt, and Lucy Lippard were among Printed Matter’s 1976 co-founders.)
Contributors to ART-RITE included Vito Acconci, Kathy Acker, Bas Jan Ader, Laurie Anderson, David Antin, John Baldessari, Jennifer Bartlett, Gregory Battcock, Lynda Benglis, MelBochner, Christian Boltanski, AA Bronson, Marcel Broodthaers, Trisha Brown, Chris Burden, DanielBuren, Scott Burton, Ulises Carrión, Judy Chicago, Lucinda Childs, Christo, Diego Cortez, Hanne Darboven, Agnes Denes, Ralston Farina, Richard Foreman, Peggy Gale, Gilbert and George, John Giorno, Philip Glass, Leon Golub, Guerrilla Art Action Group, Julia Heyward, NancyHolt, Ray Johnson, Joan Jonas, Richard Kern, Lee Krasner, Shigeko Kubota, Les Levine, SolLeWitt, Lucy Lippard, Babette Mangolte, Brice Marden, Agnes Martin, Gordon Matta-Clark, Rosemary Mayer, Annette Messager, Elizabeth Murray, Alice Neel, Brian O’Doherty, Genesis P-Orridge, Nam June Paik, Charlemagne Palestine, Judy Pfaff, Lil Picard, YvonneRainer, Dorothea Rockburne, Ed Ruscha, Robert Ryman, David Salle, JulianSchnabel, Carolee Schneemann, Richard Serra, Sylvia Sleigh, Jack Smith, Patti Smith, Robert Smithson, Holly Solomon, Naomi Spector, Nancy Spero, Pat Steir, Frank Stella, David Tremlett, Richard Tuttle, Alan Vega, AndyWarhol, William Wegman, Lawrence Weiner, Hannah Wilke, Robert Wilson, and Irene vonZahn.
I am standing on the corner of Stanton and Chrystie, waiting for the traffic light to change. A man is sitting on the steps of a building holding his young son on his lap. He is eating fried chicken from Chico’s take-out on Houston. He chews on the wings and feeds bits of the breast to his son. The man finishes eating and puts the leftover chicken and bones, french fries and soda can in a paper bag and leaves it on the sidewalk. A brown dog from a neighboring building, snoops around gets his nose in the bag, chews on the bones and makes a mess. The man hits the dog with a newspaper, and it yelps and runs away. A black cat sitting in a window, watches wide-eyed, staring down at the dog, chicken bones and gristle. I see their past and present lives. The man eats the chicken and the chicken was his mother, who had died of cancer two years ago; the dog chewing on the bones was his father, who had died of a heart attack five years ago; and the cat in the window was his grandmother; and his young son, whom he holds so tenderly, was the man who killed him in his previous life. His wife comes home with groceries and takes the boy into the building. She had been his lover in many past lives, and was his mother for the first time in this one. The world just makes me laugh. Fill what is empty, empty what is full, light as body, light as breath.Welcoming the flowers: daffodils baptized in butter, lilacs lasciviously licking the air, necklaces of wisteria bowing to magnolia mamas, the cherry blossoms are razor blades, the snow dahlias are sharp as cat piss, the lilies of the valley are lilies of fur, lilies of feather, lilies of fin, lilies of skin, the almost Miss America rose, the orchids are fat licking tongues, and they all smell so good and I am sucked into their meaty earthy goodness. You make my heart feel warm, I lay my head on your chest and feel free, filling what is empty, emptying what is full, filling what is empty, emptying what is full, filling what is empty, emptying what is full, filling what is empty, emptying what is full, the gods we know we are, the gods we knew we were.I smell you with my eyes, see you with my ears, feel you with my mouth, taste you with my nose, hear you with my tongue, I want you to sit in my heart, and smile. Words come from sound, sound comes from wisdom, wisdom comes from emptiness, deep relaxation of great perfection. Welcoming the flowers: armfuls of honey suckle and columbine, red-tipped knives of Indian paint brush, the fields of daisies are the people who betrayed me and the lupine were self-serving and unkind, the voluminous and voluptuous bougainvillea are licking fire loving what it cannot burn, the big bunch of one thousand red roses are all the people I made love to, hit my nose with stem of a rose, the poppies have pockets packed with narcotic treats, the chrysanthemums are a garland of skulls. I go to death willingly, with the same comfort and bliss as when I lay my head on my lover’s chest. Welcoming the flowers: the third bouquet is a crown of blue bells, a carillon of foxglove, a sunflower snuggles its head on my lap and gazes up at the sky, may all the tiny black insects crawling on the peony petals be my sons and daughters in future lives, great balls of light radiating white, red, blue concentric dazzle, yellow, green great exaltation, the world just makes me laugh. May sound and light not rise up and appear as enemies, may I know all sound as my own sound, may I know all light as my own light, may I spontaneously know all phenomena as myself, may I realize original nature, not fabricated by mind, empty naked awareness. — John Giorno
John Giorno—poet, artist, organizer, AIDS activist, Buddhist, catalyst, muse, husband of UgoRondinone, star of Andy Warhol’s Sleep—died last week at home: 222 Bowery in lower Manhattan.
A trove of over 150 drawings by Andy Warhol—now on view at the New York Academy of Art—trace nearly four decades of work by the hand of the artist who wanted to be a machine.
This week—in conjunction with ANDY WARHOL: BY HAND—join curator and Warhol associate Vincent Fremont, curator Donna De Salvo, and poet, artist, and Warhol actor John Giorno for a panel discussion on the exhibition, moderated by curator and New York Academy of Art president DavidKratz.
JOHN GIORNO, DONNA DE SALVO, and VINCENT FREMONT panel
Monday, February 11, at 6:30 pm.
Exhibition runs through March 10.
New York Academy of Art
111 Franklin Street, New York City.
From top: Andy Warhol, Two Male Heads; Andy Warhol, Self Portrait, 1986 synthetic polymer paint on paper; Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, 1975; Andy Warhol, Serious Girl, circa 1954, ink and graphite on paper. Images courtesy the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., licensed by Artists RightsSociety (ARS).