New York


Brion Gysin with Dreamachine at Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 1962. Collection William S. Burroughs Archive, Courtesy William S. Burroughs Trust, Lawrence, Kansas. Photo:  Harold Chapman/Image Works.


Brion Gysin with Dreamachine at Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 1962. Collection William S. Burroughs Archive, Courtesy William S. Burroughs Trust, Lawrence, Kansas. Photo: Harold Chapman/Image Works.

New York

Brion Gysin

New Museum
235 Bowery
July 7–October 3, 2010

Curated by Laura Hoptman

“Writing is fifty years behind painting,” Brion Gysin (1916–1986) declared in 1959, a still-contentious statement made the year he chanced upon the cut-up technique. This procedure—slicing and suturing swaths of text—begat his two most infamous verbal-art endeavors: The Third Mind, 1965, a massive image-and-text collage made with his longtime comrade William S. Burroughs, and the “permutation poems,” realized using magnetic tape, in which Gysin semantically unlocks single phrases by reordering their constituent words in every possible variation. This survey will include more than 250 of the elusive artist’s seldom-seen drawings, books, calligraphic paintings, photocollages, films, slide projections, and sound works. Also on view will be 1961’s Dreamachine, a kinetic contraption that, like Duchamp’s Rotoreliefs before it, was ill suited to the consumer market yet perfectly illuminates a moment of countercultural spectatorship.