Artista: John Giorno | Ron Gorchov, Lynda Benglis, galleria d'arte bergamo

American poet and performance artist, John Giorno (1936-2019) is considered a leading figure of the Beat Generation, a group of American post-World War II writers who came to prominence in the 1950s through the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired. Born in New York in 1936, Giorno graduated from Columbia University in 1958. He briefly worked as a stockbroker in New York before meeting Andy Warhol in 1962. The pair became lovers and Warhol remained an important influence for Giorno’s developments on poetry, performance and recordings.

Further inspired by subsequent relationships with Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, Giorno began applying Pop Art techniques of appropriation of found imagery to his poetry, producing The American Book of the Dead in 1964. That same year, he began applying cut up and montage techniques to found texts. His first audio poem piece of this sort was played at the Paris Museum of Modern Art Biennale in 1965. He founded the not-for-profit production company, Giorno Poetry Systems, and organized a number of multimedia poetry experiments and events, including Dial-A-Poem. In 1970, his Dial-A-Poem installation at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, connected words and images to confront audiences with poetry in different contexts.

The work of John Giorno embraces two disciplines: poetry and art, which have been a source of mutual fascination and inspiration for the artist. Harboring a close kinship with William Burroughs, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol, for whom he starred in the famous film, Sleep (1963), Giorno is recognized today as one of the most influential poets of his generation. He is also considered the inventor of Performance Poetry, and of Dial-A-Poem - a free telephone line to connect listeners to recordings of original works of poetry. Giorno's words transform to images in his Poem Paintings which are short excerpts from his writings, phrases that have continually haunted him. At the crossroads between poetry, visual arts, music and performance, Giorno's work directs itself toward a broad public, redefining the capabilities of poetry  and linguistic form.

In 2008, the first career-spanning collection of Giorno’s poems, Subduing Demons in America: Selected Poems 1962-2007, was published. His first solo show, Black Paintings and Drawings, was held at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery in New York in 2012. Giorno was an AIDS activist and fundraiser, and a long-time practitioner of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

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