John Giorno Giorno’s outsized influence as a poet stems from the expansive and multidisciplinary nature of his work. From his studio on the Bowery, where he has lived and worked for over fifty years, Giorno’s practice has grown beyond poetry to encompass film, painting, sound installation and much more.
He began staging multimedia events alongside Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable in the 1960s, when he also worked with Robert Rauschenberg’s Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) (1966) and with Bob Moog (1967-68). An early pioneer of recorded spoken word projects, he founded the nonprofit Giorno Poetry Systems in 1965, which has produced albums with hundreds of artists and poets. Giorno is best known for his interactive telephone work “Dial-A-Poem,” first presented in 1968, which invited people to call into a dedicated line to hear poems from live recordings by Laurie Anderson, John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara and numerous others. Included in Kynaston McShine’s watershed exhibition “Information” at the Museum of Modern Art in 1970, “Dial-A-Poem” has gone on to several subsequent influential iterations in both analog and digital worlds.