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news: the john giorno estate is represented by kurimanzutto

kurimanzutto is honored to represent the estate of John Giorno (1936-2019). An influential artist, activist, and poet, Giorno is recognized for creating new spaces for poetry, pushing it off the page and into the visual, musical, political, and social spheres. 

John Giorno’s legacy is an inspiration for kurimanzutto. With a New York space operating for over a year now, the gallery is excited to be able to deepen its decades-long cultural dialogues with artists connected to the city, such as Jimmie Durham and Patti Smith, and those who’s work also incorporates the written and spoken word. José Kuri recalls, "I saw John perform in the early 2000s in Mexico and was captivated by the power of his words and persona; since then I closely followed his practice, admiring the way he channeled the legacy of some of the most innovative and influential poets of the 20th century in his work."

In March 2024, kurimanzutto will present a solo exhibition in New York titled Jasmine Burn. Curated by GPS Executive Artistic Director Anthony Huberman, the works in the exhibition will focus on Giorno's long-standing Buddhist practice. GPS will host related events at 222 Bowery in conjunction with the exhibition. 

As John Giorno himself put it, he was “determined to make poetry a razor blade cutting through the ego of America's karma.”


Born in New York in 1936, Giorno was an active player in the storied New York art scene of the 1960s. He met Andy Warhol in 1962, who famously featured him in his film Sleep. Warhol was an important influence for Giorno as were other prominent artist friends like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. Inspired by their artistic strategies, he began combining appropriated imagery with his poetry. A life-long collaborator, he staged multimedia events with Rauschenberg, developed new recording techniques with Bob Moog, and performed alongside William Burroughs and Brion Gysin. 

Giorno’s well-known Dial-A-Poem (1968 – present), which is currently installed in the permanent collection galleries at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, invites its audience to dial a given phone number and listen to a wide range of poets reading their work. The earliest iterations included poets like John Ashbery, Allen Ginsberg, Bernadette Meyer, and Frank O’Hara. It was included in the landmark group exhibition Information at MoMA in 1970 and was both celebrated and criticized for its selection of readings and speeches by poets and activists. Giorno was unwaveringly unapologetic in his use of politically-charged and sexually salacious content, using his work as a platform to draw attention to his own status as a gay man, to police violence in America, and to the war in Vietnam.


In 1971, Giorno visited India and Nepal with Allen Ginsberg, where he gave the Dalai Lama a copy of his book Balling Buddha and met his teacher, His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, a teacher who inspired him for the rest of his life. A Buddhist strain began to form in Giorno’s work, and, in the 1980s, Giorno’s lofts at 222 Bowery became a space for communal practice in his adopted lineage of Nyingma Buddhism.

In 1989, he made the first of his widely exhibited Poem Paintings. Phrases taken from his poems, combining his interest in Buddhist spiritual texts with his Pop sensibility, were silk-screened on canvas. He continued and expanded his visual art practice over the next thirty years, making paintings, drawings, sculptures, and moving-image work.


In 1965, Giorno started Giorno Poetry Systems (GPS). Initially used as a pseudonym for his own political activism, GPS became a more formal 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 1974, dedicated to supporting artists, poets, and musicians, with a board of directors that included William Burroughs, Anne Waldman, Les Levine, and Keith Haring, among others. In the early 1970s, GPS launched a record label, GPS Records, and released dozens of LPs by a range of spoken word artists and musicians that include Laurie Anderson, Meredith Monk, and Sonic Youth. In 1984, GPS established the AIDS Treatment Project as an emergency response to the impacts of the epidemic on artists’ lives and provided funds to artists and poets living with AIDS through the early 2000s. GPS also produced concerts, conferences, and other events throughout the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. After some years of inactivity, GPS relaunched in 2023, headquartered in the iconic building at 222 Bowery in downtown Manhattan, and continues to support a new generation of artists, poets, and musicians via public events, a record label, small grants, and new international editions of Dial-A-Poem.

Giorno met the Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone in 1998, beginning a relationship that lasted the rest of his life. They married in 2017. A major retrospective of Giorno’s work, Ugo Rondinone: I ♥ John Giorno, was curated by Rondinone for Palais de Tokyo in 2015, and was re-imagined for 13 spaces in New York City in 2017, and a website.

Giorno died in his home at 222 Bowery in 2019.

We are delighted to represent the estate of John Giorno in the Americas and to collaborate with Almine Rech, Eva Presenhuber and Thomas Brambilla, who continue to represent the estate around the world.


+information about john giorno



john giorno at 222 bowery. 2018. photo by marco anelli

john giorno at 222 bowery. 2018. photo by marco anelli