Since the mid-1960s, American poet John Giorno distributed and presented his work widely beyond the territories of the literary and art worlds. The artist’s work spans disciplines of art, poetry, Nyigma Buddhist teachings, social engagement and performance. Five decades later, Giorno is historically acknowledged as an iconic American artist who Iigures prominently in the countercultural movements of his era.
John Giorno collaborated with key members of the beat, pop and avant-garde communities in New York. The artist starred in an Andy Warhol Iirst seminal Iilm, “Sleep” (1964), and participated in collective art making with various artist initiatives, from E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology) to Something Else Press. He is best known for his efforts to bring poetry into the modern age and for his restless experiments in the transmission and possibilities of poetry, resulting in his major work, Dial-A-Poem, where members of the public call and listen to poems read at random by hundreds of artists, such as Patti Smith, Alan Ginsberg, Bobby Seale and Anne Waldman.
John Giorno. DO THE UNDONE
Servane Mary. Untitled (flash yellow), 2019
Ugo Rondinone. the moon, 2020
Produced especially for this exhibition, a site-speciIic banner serves both as the point of entry and the title that inspired this exhibition. WE GAVE A PARTY FOR THE GODS AND THE GODS ALL CAME relates to a line of his poetry and use of the phrase in paintings and graphic works produced by the artist. In addition to the external installation, the artist presents two large sculptures, sourced from found boulders made of bluestone, into which poetic phrases are carved. These works sit as sentinels in quiet strength virtually within the palazzo gallery.
French-Swiss artist Servane Mary presents three large-scale magenta, cyan and yellow paintings that from a distance appear near-monochrome. These are part of an ongoing series of large, multi-paneled works, all of which are silkscreened with a simple, repetitive dot pattern that originates from a digital image of a sheet of pegboard, a material with regularly spaced perforations into which hooks are inserted so that tools may be openly stored and accessible. In close proximity we see the dots proliferate endlessly and optically, bouncing off one another. From both near and far, we are presented with an image-situation that suggests, the viewer, the act of looking, is an active participant and, by extension, the work's unconscious subject. Seen in the Baroque architecture and decoration of the gallery's 16th century Gold room, their quietude and vibrance, their maximal Minimalism and volume, are ampliIied. We may have any number of associations— with Minimalism and the monochrome (and in monochrome resides the memory of all painting), Op and Pop (by indirection), and lyrical abstraction—when we are before her works, but it's evident that she involves the work and its history entirely on her own terms. As the artist has said, "It all comes down to the idea that painting is a form of thinking and all we can represent is analogous." [Excerpts from a text by Bob Nickas].
Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone presents two large sculptures in the main hall. The moon and the sun, gold and silver facing each other in the same room, as natural phenomena. These large-scale circular rings are made from vine branches which were cast in bronze and then gilded. The artist chose to depict the vine as a symbol of renewal because of its life cycle from growth to dormancy and rebirth to a fruitful state every year—reminiscent of the solar cycle. “Looking at the sculpture of the sun or the moon makes one feel that the physical and the spiritual are not separate. These two sculptures 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.”