John Yau Reviews 'A Painter and His Poets: The Art of George Schneeman' at Hyperallergic
For anyone interested in poetry (not the same as verse); underknown art and artists; the artists and poets of the New York School after the death of Franz Kline and Frank O’Hara (in 1962 and ’66, respectively); collaboration; collage; a do-it-yourself spirit; the Lower East Side (particularly from the late 1960s until the late ’80s, decades before it was gentrified); and the persistence of bohemian life, despite all the efforts to stamp it out, the exhibition A Painter and His Poets: The Art of George Schneeman, thoughtfully curated by Bill Berkson and Ron Padgett at Poets House (April 22–September 20, 2014), is a must-see. One reason is to see the painting, “Untitled (Nude Group)” (1969), in which thirteen people, many of them poets, sat nude in George and Katie Schneeman’s sun-filled apartment at 29 St. Mark’s Place. As far as I know, it is the first time this painting has been exhibited in New York.
Although I wasn’t familiar with Schneeman’s work at the time, he was one of the reasons that I left Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1974 and moved to New York. Cambridge and Boston were well brought up and polite, while, in my mind, New York was the artistic epitome of unruly and impolite. I would pass Robert Lowell in Harvard Yard and we would nod to each other. I saw the Jules Olitski retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1973 and realized that this was as good as it was going to get, and that wasn’t good enough for me. There was so much more to see and learn firsthand. [...]
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