Matthew Higgs, the director of White Columns, was drawn to the collaborative, activist bent of Giorno’s work from a young age. “There was an extraordinary philanthropy about John’s practice, where he would encourage and support other artists, other poets, and other musicians under the rubric of his larger enterprise, GPS,” he explains. “As I got to know the work more, I realized that this persistent sense of philanthropy behind his work—and the way that he brings other people and other voices into his orbit—is one of the most extraordinary and compelling things about his practice.”
For all his accomplishments, Giorno is ardently humble and routinely credits the lasting influence of his work, and the joys of his life, to chance and luck. “I was aware of the energy of New York, in terms of poets and artists being here, from the very beginning,” he recalls. “And I had the good luck to somehow be in this place when these things were happening.”
This nuanced, multi-part exhibition tells a different story, though: one of an artist’s tireless efforts to bring his community together, and to weave art into the fabric of everyday life.