John Giorno was born in New York City in 1936, and died there on October 11th, 2019.
After studying at Columbia University, he moved to the Bowery, joining that neighborhoods’ vibrant artistic community. It was there that he met Andy Warhol, who shot footage of him sleeping for his first film, Sleep. John Giorno’s collaborators have included William S. Burroughs, Robert Rauschenberg, Patti Smith, Philip Glass, Robert Mapplethorpe and, more recently, Elizabeth Peyton, Pierre Huyghe and Ugo Rondinone.
In 1965, Giorno founded Giorno Poetry Systems, an artists’ collective and record label, to relay poetry to a wider audience using innovative means of communication. One such innovation was Dial-A-Poem, which, since 1968, has continuously allowed access to anyone who wishes to hear poetry readings over the phone. John Giorno is also a pioneer of performance poetry, intense spoken word events performed before a live audience.
In the 1980s, Giorno begins to add a pictorial dimension to his work, creating Poem Paintings composed of words and phrases from his poems in the form of paintings, murals, drawings and screen prints.