NYC: Ashbery, ‘Poet Among Things’

Paintings, furniture, cartoons and more from John Ashbery’s Hudson, NY home are on display in “John Ashbery Collects: Poet Among Things,” a new exhibit at Loretta Howard Gallery in Manhattan.

Ashbery himself was part of the crowd present at the gallery on September 12 for an opening reception. The exhibit, curated by Adam Fitzgerald and Emily Skillings, “explores the poet’s lifelong interest in collecting through the medium of his late-19th century house in Hudson, NY, a carefully composed collage-environment constructed over thirty-five years with an eclectic array of fine art by European and American masters, furniture, pottery, textiles, bric-a-brac, toys, and other objects, augmented by the content and associations that these objects hold for him—the images and artworks he arranges on his walls, the books he puts on his shelves, the music he plays, the cinema he watches—all organized in an architecturally-distinguished setting.”

Ashbery fans will identify items that appear in the poet’s works–a convex mirror, the Daffy Duck cartoon “Duck Amuck”–and many other works accented by excerpts from Ashbery poems fixed to the gallery walls. In addition to collages created by Ashbery himself, Fitzgerald and Skillings have included work by Joe Brainard, Joseph Cornell, Henry Darger, Giorgio de Chirico, Elaine de Kooning, Willem de Kooning, Jane Freilicher, Shirley Goldfarb, Jean Hélion, Utagawa Hiroshige, Katsushika Hokusai, Alex Katz, Joan Mitchell, Fairfield Porter, Archie Rand, Larry Rivers, Mark Tobey, and Trevor Winkfield. Here are some cell phone camera shots of the exhibit; more to come soon: