There is a very interesting exhibit opening tomorrow in New York titled “John Ashbery Collects: Poet Among Things.” The exhibit, which is curated by poets Adam Fitzgerald and Emily Skillings, will be shown at the Loretta Howard Gallery.
The show builds upon earlier examinations of Ashbery’s home and surroundings, especially “Created Spaces: John Ashbery’s Textual and Domestic Environments,” a gathering of essays that appeared in Rain Taxi in 2008. This portfolio made the case that Ashbery’s “domestic environments” — the furnishings, the collections, and the created spaces of his house in Hudson, New York, and his apartment in Manhattan — are profoundly important to his poetic process, and even can be thought of as an extension of his poetry itself.
Here is some more information about this exhibit:
Loretta Howard Gallery is pleased to present “John Ashbery Collects,” an immersive multi-media gallery experience showcasing a selection of things that inform Ashbery’s sensibility as well as his work as a poet, visual artist, collaborator, art critic and collector. Co-curated by poets Adam Fitzgerald and Emily Skillings, John Ashbery Collects explores the poet’s lifelong interest in collecting through the medium of his late-19th century house in Hudson, NY, a carefully composed collage-environment constructed over thirty-five years with an eclectic array of fine art by European and American masters, furniture, pottery, textiles, bric-a-brac, toys, and other objects, augmented by the content and associations that these objects hold for him—the images and artworks he arranges on his walls, the books he puts on his shelves, the music he plays, the cinema he watches—all organized in an architecturally-distinguished setting.
The exhibit features works by artists Ashbery has counted among his intimate friends and those he has paid homage to as critic, many of whom have subtly influenced his poetry. Scholars and critics increasingly acknowledge the inspirational role that environments play in Ashbery’s creative process, looking to the Hudson house, which some consider to be his most ambitious and fully-realized artwork, for insight into how he uniquely populates his spaces, poetry and collages with things intended to trigger and reflect his imagination. Viewers are invited to discover the breadth of Ashbery’s personal collections, spanning some eight decades, in this unusual exhibition.
The show includes work by quite an amazing roster of artists, many of them of crucial importance to Ashbery’s poetry: Joe Brainard, Joseph Cornell, Henry Darger, Giorgio de Chirico, Elaine de Kooning, Willem de Kooning, Jane Freilicher, Alex Katz, Joan Mitchell, Fairfield Porter, Larry Rivers, Trevor Winkfield, and others.
There will be an opening reception on September 12, 2o13, from 6:00 to 8:00. More information can be found here.
(I’d love to hear more about the exhibit from anyone who gets a chance to see it!).