In 2015, Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone staged a one-of-a-kind declaration of love at Palais de Tokyo - an artwork in form of an exhibition entirely dedicated to his husband, poet John Giorno. Appropriately titled UGO RONDINONE: I ♥ JOHN GIORNO, this amorous expression will now continue throughout the city of New York, as thirteen artistic venues will host its sequel this June! Bearing the same name, the show is described as ”a kaleidoscopic retrospective that includes items from Mr. Giorno’s archive, as well as works by his collaborators and Mr. Rondinone.”
A performance artist, AIDS activist, fundraiser, poet and a long-time practitioner of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, the 80-year-old John Giorno has been an important figure of the New York’s downtown art. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he first became prominent in Andy Warhol’s silent film Sleep from 1963, which will also be on view in the I ♥ John Giorno exhibition. Two years after that, he founded a non-profit production company, Giorno Poetry Systems, in order to bring poetry to new audiences using innovative technologies. He has been the husband of Ugo Rondinone for two decades now.
On display as part of the I ♥ John Giorno exhibition, the visitors will be able to see Ugo Rondinone’s 2011 video work Thanx 4 Nothing, which features John Giorno reading his poem of the same name, as well as a restating of Giorno’s Dial-a-Poem, a 1969 piece that was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s 1970 exhibition <em>Information</em> and that invites people to call a number and hear recorded poems by William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and John Cage, among others. Parts of the artist’s home, like his Tibetan Buddhist shrine and a cast-bronze reproduction of his massive fireplace by Ugo Rondinone, will also be on view.
“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,” said artist Ugo Rondinone in a statement regarding the exhibition.
The I ♥ John Giorno exhibition by Ugo Rondinone will open on June 21st, 2017, at thirteen participating institutions in New York, including Artists Space, High Line Art, Howl! Happening, two Hunter College Art Galleries, the Kitchen, New Museum, Red Bull Arts New York, Rubin Museum of Art, Sky Art, Swiss Institute, White Columns and 80WSE Gallery.
Featured image: John Giorno, left, and Ugo Rondinone at the exhibition “I ♥ John Giorno,” at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2015. Credit Alex Cretey-Systermans for The New York Times.