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Now Open: ‘John Ashbery Collects: Poet Among Things’

By Harriet Staff

Ashbery

Locus Solus tells it like it is: “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.” More information from the release:

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.

John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927. His Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror won the three major American prizes – the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Considered by many to be the most important living poet writing in English, Ashbery has published more than twenty collections, most recently Quick Question (2012, Ecco) and his highly acclaimed translation of Rimbaud’s Illuminations (2011, Norton). He served as executive editor of Art News and as an art critic for New York magazine and Newsweek, and exhibits his collages at Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York. President Obama presented Ashbery with a National Humanities Medal at the White House in 2012. His collages and items from his personal collections are shown here by arrangement with Tibor de Nagy Gallery.

A schedule of special events related to this exhibition will be posted on the gallery’s website.

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Posted in Poetry News on Friday, September 13th, 2013 by Harriet Staff.