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John Giorno. Photo: Marco Anelli.

Elizabeth Dee Named Director of Newly Established John Giorno Foundation

The creation of the John Giorno Foundation, a New York–based organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of work by the eponymous American artist, poet, and activist, was announced this morning. The foundation will provide support for artists, poets, musicians, and the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, to which Giorno, who died last year at age eighty-two, had committed himself after traveling to India in 1971.

The organization’s board includes the artist Ugo Rondinone, Giorno’s husband; Laura Hoptman, curator and director of the Drawing Center in New York; and Zurich-based gallerist Eva Presenhuber; among others. Its first director is Elizabeth Dee, the founder and CEO of New York’s Independent Art Fair, which she will still oversee. It is being envisioned as the latest iteration of Giorno Poetry Systems, Inc., the artist collective, nonprofit organization, and record label established by Giorno in 1965 whose projects included the artist’s most famous work, Dial-A-Poem, a service that participants could call to hear friends of Giorno reading poetry.

The foundation will be housed in the 222 Bowery loft, a former YMCA in Lower Manhattan where Giorno lived for most of his life, and will begin hosting in-person events once lockdown restrictions are lifted, Artnews reports. In the meantime, selections from the artist’s archives—including poems, flyers, photographs, posters, early prints and artworks, performance recordings, and other materials—are being showcased on the foundation’s website.

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