In conjunction with the exhibition Andy Warhol: My Perfect Body, poet John Giorno speaks with Jessica Beck, The Warhol’s associate curator of art, and Eric Crosby, Carnegie Museum of Art’s Richard Armstrong curator of modern and contemporary art, about his relationship to Andy Warhol and New York’s 1960s underground film culture.
Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures (1963, 45 minutes) is screened before the discussion. Flaming Creatures is a seminal avant-garde film that created national controversy for its depiction of sexuality. Smith’s film, like many of Warhol’s, was about disrupting gender and sexuality norms and creating a new form of eroticism. John Giorno is an artistic innovator who has been defying assumptions of poet, performer, political activist, Tibetan Buddhist, and visual artist since he emerged upon the New York art scene in the late 1950s. In the 1960s, he began producing multi-media, multi-sensory events concurrent with Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable. He worked with Rauschenberg’s Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) in 1966 and with Bob Moog in 1967–68. His breakthroughs in this area include Dial-A-Poem, which was first exhibited in 1968 at the Architectural Society of New York and was additionally exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art’s Information exhibition in 1970. The first comprehensive retrospective of his work I LOVE JOHN GIORNO, curated by Ugo Rondinone, opened in fall 2016 at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris.