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BEST OF 2015: artist Ugo Rondinone and the legendary poet John Giorno at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris

 

In celebration of Ugo Rondinone’s magnificent exhibition “I love John Giorno” at the Palais de Tokyo, an exclusive interview between the artist and his muse, the legendary poet John Giorno.

John Giorno (left) and Ugo Rondinone (right). 

Numéro: So how did an artist born in Switzerland in 1964 end up meeting a New York legend born in 1936?

John Giorno: In 1997 Ugo asked me if I’d take part in one of his exhibitions, after having been to one of my performances. The idea behind his installation was pretty amazing: speakers arranged in trees, which emitted not music, but poetry. Ugo wanted it to be my words. So we talked. We drank more than we should have. And we got stoned, obviously. And then we became lovers. It’s as simple as that. And it’s been thus for the last eighteen years…

 

How did the idea for this exhibition come about, the portrait of the poet, the artist, but also of the man John Giorno?

Ugo Rondinone: At the turn of the millennium I found out that John had been keeping personal archives since the 1960s.

They were classified by year and carefully stored in boxes. This treasure is the very source of the exhibition. It provided the material to make the works, particularly the big colourful tableaux. 

John Giorno: I was very young when I started storing up this documentation. It was 1965 and I was already hanging out with writers from the Beat generation, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs... We were all totally broke at the time, and the idea of preserving what little we had seemed logical to us. So I started gathering texts, magazines and writings in these boxes that I would keep at the big family home that belonged to my parents. When they died after having lived there for fifty years, I had to move them someplace else, and that’s when Ugo discovered them… and threw himself into the pharaonic business of scanning several thousand documents. More than 11,000 I think [laughs]. 

Tomás Saraceno's spiders at the Palais de Tokyo
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Tomás Saraceno's spiders at the Palais de Tokyo

Art His Berlin atelier houses one of the most important collections of spider’s webs in the world – which is perhaps only normal given that Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno, born in 1973, has become famous for the spider’s webs that he exhibits in open metal cubes. Paris’s Palais de Tokyo is currently giving him carte blanche. His Berlin atelier houses one of the most important collections of spider’s webs in the world – which is perhaps only normal given that Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno, born in 1973, has become famous for the spider’s webs that he exhibits in open metal cubes. Paris’s Palais de Tokyo is currently giving him carte blanche.

Maurizio Cattelan gets into copy (in art) with Gucci
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Maurizio Cattelan gets into copy (in art) with Gucci

Art Ever more committed to supporting contemporary art, Gucci and its creative director Alessandro Michele have invited artist Maurizio Cattelan to curate a thought-provoking Shanghai show about copies. Ever more committed to supporting contemporary art, Gucci and its creative director Alessandro Michele have invited artist Maurizio Cattelan to curate a thought-provoking Shanghai show about copies.

FIAC 2018 : Katharina Grosse's bonfire of colour at the Grand Palais
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FIAC 2018 : Katharina Grosse's bonfire of colour at the Grand Palais

Art Katharina grosse transforms the world with her spray gun. Born in 1961, the german artist has splattered many a prestigious museum with her violent colours, as well as her own bedroom and even a house. She’s now been invited by the villa médicis in rome, home to the french academy, which she’s transformed into an explosive landscape made up of trunks of a pine tree planted over a century ago by ingres. Katharina grosse transforms the world with her spray gun. Born in 1961, the german artist has splattered many a prestigious museum with her violent colours, as well as her own bedroom and even a house. She’s now been invited by the villa médicis in rome, home to the french academy, which she’s transformed into an explosive landscape made up of trunks of a pine tree planted over a century ago by ingres.

Elmgreen & Dragset storm Place Vendôme: "Will humanity disappear to give way to nature?"
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Elmgreen & Dragset storm Place Vendôme: "Will humanity disappear to give way to nature?"

Art Star fish have invaded the place vendôme! Who is responsible? Why elmgreen & dragset of course! Numéro art met up with the explosive duo, who are guests of honour at paris’s art fair fiac this autumn. Star fish have invaded the place vendôme! Who is responsible? Why elmgreen & dragset of course! Numéro art met up with the explosive duo, who are guests of honour at paris’s art fair fiac this autumn.

Numéro art reveals new cover starring artists Elmgreen & Dragset
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Numéro art reveals new cover starring artists Elmgreen & Dragset

Art Discover Elmgreen & Dragset shot by Miles Aldridge for the cover of Numero art #3, out October 12th. Elmgreen & Dragset are taking over the place Vendôme during the FIAC and will be celebrated at Galerie Perrotin in Paris. Plus, do not miss their current show at Whitechapel Gallery in London.  Discover Elmgreen & Dragset shot by Miles Aldridge for the cover of Numero art #3, out October 12th. Elmgreen & Dragset are taking over the place Vendôme during the FIAC and will be celebrated at Galerie Perrotin in Paris. Plus, do not miss their current show at Whitechapel Gallery in London. 

Frieze London 2018 pays tribute to female artists with “Social Work”
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Frieze London 2018 pays tribute to female artists with “Social Work”

Art During Frieze London, from 3 october to 7, a group of ten female critics and curators pays tribute to women artists whose work during the 1980s created broader support structures for those around them under the title Social Work. Curators Lydia Yee, Fatoş Üstek and Melanie Keen discuss three of the artists featured in Social Work, and suggest why it is important to re-assess their legacy three decades later. During Frieze London, from 3 october to 7, a group of ten female critics and curators pays tribute to women artists whose work during the 1980s created broader support structures for those around them under the title Social Work. Curators Lydia Yee, Fatoş Üstek and Melanie Keen discuss three of the artists featured in Social Work, and suggest why it is important to re-assess their legacy three decades later.