Francesco Clemente, Black Flags Blue Sky II, 2016, oil on canvas, 71 1⁄4 × 87".

Francesco Clemente

Galleria Lorcan O'Neill

Accustomed to collaborating with poets and writers—among them Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Rene Ricard, and Salman Rushdie—Francesco Clemente allowed himself to be seduced by Poet in New York, the recently retranslated collection of poems that Federico García Lorca wrote between 1929 and 1930 while a student at Columbia University. With a sort of foresight, Lorca saw the city as a merciless meat grinder that devours the most vulnerable, the destitute, and innocent children. His critique of the capitalist world led him to write of Wall Street: “There, as nowhere else, you feel a total absence of the spirit.”

The poem from which Clemente has taken most of his paintings’ titles, “El rey de Harlem” (The King of Harlem), overflows with grief like a funeral lament, yet also reflects the vital and creative energy of Harlem, where the poet’s Mediterranean sensuality clashes with the

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