amfAR Gala Cannes
25 May, 2017
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John Giorno
Big Ego, 2017

Starting bid: $25,000

Acrylic on canvas

60 x 60 in (152.4 x 152.4 cm)


Courtesy of the artist and Cahiers d’Art

lot description

John Giorno is also a pioneer of performance poetry: readings performed with intensity before a live audience. Some years ago, Giorno began adding a pictorial dimension to his work, creating “poem paintings” composed of words and phrases from his poems in the form of paintings, murals, drawings and screen prints. 

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artist biography

John Giorno was born in New York in 1936. After studying at Columbia University, he moved to Bowery, joining the neighborhood’s vibrant artistic community. It was there that he met Andy Warhol, who shot footage of Giorno sleeping for his first film Sleep. Giorno’s collaborators have included William S. Burroughs, Robert Rauschenberg, Patti Smith, Philip Glass, Robert Mapplethorpe, and, more recently, Elizabeth Peyton, Pierre Huyghe as well as Ugo Rondinone. A leading figure of the Beat Generation, Giorno seeks to extend the frontiers of poetry and to free it from its elitist repertoire. In 1965, he founded Giorno Poetry Systems (GPS), an artists’ collective and record label aimed to relay poetry to a wider audience using innovative means of communication. One such innovation was Dial-A-Poem, which uninterruptedly since 1968 has allowed anyone who calls GPS to hear poetry readings toll free over the phone. Giorno’s work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Faux Mouvement Centre d’Art Contemporain (Metz), the Centre Pompidou-Metz along with Almine Rech Gallery, Galerie du Jour - agnès b., Nicole Klagsbrun and Elizabeth Dee Gallery. He has given performances at Dia:Chelsea, the New Museum, 104, the Serpentine Gallery, The Swiss Institute and The Beacon Theatre. In October 2015, Palais de Tokyo presented a retrospective of his work. He is currently exhibiting recent paintings and a new series of prints at the legendary Cahiers d’Art (Paris).

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