Kenneth Goldsmith & John Ashbery
Love and Career
2014 48 x 60 inches Hand dyed Tibetan Highland Wool Signed and numbered by Goldsmith and Ashbery, in an Edition of 15 + 4 APs
With one foot in the world of Abstract Expressionism and the other in Pop Art, John Ashbery's poetry embodies a series of intentional contradictions. Sincere & ironic, found & fabricated, creative & uncreative, his poems are concrete demonstrations and celebrations of uncertainty, betweeness, and not-knowing. Every night, by the side of his bed, John keeps a pen and a pad. During the night, when he wakes up from a dream, he scribbles a few words or a random phrase that is ricocheting around his head, and then goes back to sleep. Many of these fragments find their way into poems. Over the next few months, Goldsmith combed through these, scanning and transcribing them, selecting the ones that, for whatever reason, really zinged. He then sought out images of modernist painting and began laying his ephemeral markings over iconic imagery. The contradiction between the power of the paintings and the delicate intimacy of John's handwriting seemed to strike a note similar to the balancing act that Goldsmith found so compelling in John's work.
John Ashbery has published more than twenty volumes of poetry and won nearly every major American award for poetry, including a Pulitzer Prize in 1976. Renowned for its postmodern complexity and opacity, Ashbery's work still proves controversial. Ashbery has stated that he wishes his work to be accessible to as many people as possible, and not to be a private dialogue with himself. At the same time, he once joked that some critics still view him as "a harebrained, homegrown surrealist whose poetry defies even the rules and logic of Surrealism." "No figure looms so large in American poetry over the past 50 years as John Ashbery," Langdon Hammer, chairman of the English Department at Yale University, wrote in 2008. "No American poet has had a larger, more diverse vocabulary, not Whitman, not Pound." Stephen Burt, a poet and Harvard professor of English, has compared Ashbery to T. S. Eliot, calling Ashbery "the last figure whom half the English-language poets alive thought a great model, and the other half thought incomprehensible.
Goldsmith teaches poetic practice and the art of plagiarism at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the editor of I’ll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews, and was a curator for the Whitney Museum of American Art’s The American Century, Part II: Soundworks. He has been awarded an Anschutz Distinguished Fellowship in American Studies at Princeton University. He is also the founder and publisher of UbuWeb, a vast online archive of avant-garde music, writing, and film, for which he won a Qwartz Electronic Music Award in 2009. A collection of his essays, Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age, was recently published by Columbia University Press. Goldsmith is the author of ten books of poetry. An hour-long documentary on his work, Sucking on Words premiered at the British Library in 2007. From 1996-2009, Goldsmith was the host of a weekly radio show on New York City's WFMU. In May 2011, he was invited to read at The White House for President and Mrs. Obama's "A Celebration of American Poetry." Goldsmith will participated in DOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel, Germany, 2012. In 2013, he was appointed the Museum of Modern Art's first Poet Laureate. He was recently a guest on The Colbert Report to discuss his latest book: Seven American Deaths and Disasters.
Jon Asbery New York Times Obituary -- John Ashbery Is Dead at 90; a Poetic Voice Often Echoed, Never Matched
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