New York

John Ashbery, Promontory, 2010, collage, digitized print, 13 x 7 3/4".

John Ashbery, Promontory, 2010, collage, digitized print, 13 x 7 3/4".

John Ashbery

Tibor De Nagy Gallery

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Collage, by its nature a hybrid art, reveals that a whole is always composed of a series of conflicting, complementary parts. For this reason, it might come as no surprise that John Ashbery, arguably the most influential poet in America, is also a collage artist, for his poetry has always been a conflation of various discourses and modes. The experimental and the traditional have long maintained an uneasy but generative truce in his work. For instance, Ashbery might use the sestina, a form dating to the twelfth century, to relate the misadventures of Popeye.

Ashbery’s recent collages, presented at Tibor de Nagy, are generally light in tone; like his poetry, they weave together high culture and pop sensibility with élan, generating the kinds of surprises that one gets from bringing together, say, Buster Brown and Parmigianino’s self-portrait. They are also frequently self-referential;

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