artist, poet, and warhol muse john giorno shares his advice for young creatives

Celebrating the long-lasting creative impact of American poet and performance artist, 'Ugo Rondinone: I ♥︎ John Giorno' is a New York City-wide festival devoted to his work.

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Jun 28 2017, 8:55am

When asked if he has any advice for burgeoning artists, John Giorno's answer is simple: "Just do it." Should that advice fail, he recommends "[doing] it by allowing it to happen," which is precisely what he's always done.

Giorno has let it all happen since the early 60s. As a native New Yorker, the artist was always immersed in the vibrant creative communities of the city. As a poet, he was contemporaries with William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg before launching the iconic multimedia poetry project Dial-A-Poem in 1968. As Andy Warhol's muse, he was cast as the protagonist in 1963's Sleep — Warhol's legendary 5-hour film that features Giorno sleeping on camera. "New York City was a small world," Giorno explains.

To honour his 80th birthday, Giorno's husband, the Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, presents a festival across New York that expands on the exhibition that originally took place at Palais de Tokyo in Paris from October 2015 to January 2016.

Ugo Rondinone: I ♥︎ John Giorno is a celebration of Giorno's life and contributions to American culture and spirituality. Rondinone describes the show as a "dreamscape of the exhibition, [where] one is invited to wander through the juxtaposed realm of art and poetry where image and language build upon themselves." Thirteen New York City galleries are participating in the multilayered exhibition that will also include works by artists Joan Wallace, Mark Handforth, Verne Dawson, and more, all involving or inspired by Giorno and his work.

"It's very personal," Sarah Watson, director of exhibitions and chief curator of the Hunter College art galleries states. "We really have these different chapters that function as shrines in their own way and offer a really sort of special aspect of the festival." 

'Ugo Rondinone: I ♥︎ John Giorno' is on view now through August 6. Full gallery list here

Credits


Text Abraham Martinez
Photography courtesy Nadine Johnson Inc.