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(1936 – 2019), USA

John Giorno Biography

American poet and performance artist, John Giorno, 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.

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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.

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 is an AIDS activist and fundraiser, and a long-time practitioner of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

Exhibition view: John Giorno, Almine Rech, London (12 October–13 November 2021). © John Giorno. Courtesy Almine Rech. Photo: Melissa Castro Duarte.

John Giorno Featured Artworks

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A HURRICANE IN A DROP OF CUM by John Giorno contemporary artwork painting
John GiornoA HURRICANE IN A DROP OF CUM, 2015Enamel on linen
101.6 x 101.6 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
SPENDING QUALITY TIME WITH MY MIND by John Giorno contemporary artwork painting
John GiornoSPENDING QUALITY TIME WITH MY MIND, 2018Gloss enamel on canvas
141.3 x 141 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
SIT IN MY HEART AND SMILE by John Giorno contemporary artwork painting
John GiornoSIT IN MY HEART AND SMILE, 2019Oil on linen
141 x 141.6 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
NOW AT THE DAWN OF MY LIFE by John Giorno contemporary artwork painting
John GiornoNOW AT THE DAWN OF MY LIFE, 2019Acrylic and primed linen
142.2 x 141.6 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
YOU GOT TO BURN TO SHINE by John Giorno contemporary artwork painting
John GiornoYOU GOT TO BURN TO SHINE, 2019Oil on linen
141 x 141.3 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
LIVING IN YOUR EYES by John Giorno contemporary artwork painting
John GiornoLIVING IN YOUR EYES, 2019Oil on linen
141 x 141.3 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
JASMINE BURN by John Giorno contemporary artwork painting
John GiornoJASMINE BURN, 2017Acrylic on canvas
101.6 x 101.6 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
WHEN THE GOING GETS ROUGH, THE TOUGH GETS GORGEOUS by John Giorno contemporary artwork print
John GiornoWHEN THE GOING GETS ROUGH, THE TOUGH GETS GORGEOUS, 1989Silkscreen on vinyl
121.9 x 121.9 cm
The Modern Institute Contact Gallery

John Giorno Current & Recent Exhibitions

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John Giorno Represented By

Almine Rech contemporary art gallery in Brussels, Belgium Almine Rech Aspen, Brussels, London, New York, Paris, Shanghai
Galerie Eva Presenhuber contemporary art gallery in Maag Areal, Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland Galerie Eva Presenhuber New York, Zurich

John Giorno In Ocula Magazine

John Giorno In Related Press

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John Giorno In Video & Audio

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