Sky Art is a temporary nonprofit art center created as one of the many city-wide institutions hosting Ugo Rondinone: I ♥ John Giorno, a work by Giorno’s partner, artist Ugo Rondinone, celebrating the life and work of the American poet, artist, activist, and muse whose work has influenced generations.
Sky Art is proud to present three spectacular installations capturing the essence of Giorno’s enduring spirit and extraordinary life. In THANX 4 NOTHING (2015), the viewer travels back in time through Giorno’s memories of back alleys, dive bars, and private bedrooms of New York City in an immersive audio-visual experience by Ugo Rondinone in which Giorno recites his most renowned poem, written on his 70th birthday. In this masterpiece, Giorno looks back on the events, friends, and lovers that shaped his life; on hope, sex, depression, the passing of time, and the city of New York that has been his playground.
Continuing the exploration into Giorno’s history, The Archive is an installation of over ten thousand documents detailing Giorno’s life and career, spanning from his birth year, 1936, all the way to 2015. A unique repository of history and documentation, it acted as an important catalyst for Rondinone in the creation of the I ♥ John Giorno exhibition. Visitors are invited to explore the archive, flick through letters, articles, images, and correspondence spanning eight decades.
The Archive is exhibited in tandem with a series of eighteen screenprints by Giorno himself. Welcoming the Flowers (2007) marries word and image, with the bright colors, dry wit, and tender humor that characterize John Giorno the artist and the man. The bold lettering contrasting with the background, along with the screenprinting method, recall the Pop era of 1960s New York. By lifting words from the page, Giorno draws our attention to their shapes, their sounds, their resonances, and their relationships to each other.
Within the rich tapestry of I ♥ John Giorno, the three bodies of work on view at Sky Art tell the story of the poet’s life in his own words, and constitute a self-portrait of his history, his mind, his musings, and his memories—the human side to the artist.