Posts tagged ‘poetry’
Freedom to Create, Rethink, and Uncover: Participating in Broodthaers’s Process
Art making during Erasures: A Poetry Workshop Inspired by Marcel Broodthaers. All photos by Beatriz Meseguer/

Art making during Erasures: A Poetry Workshop Inspired by Marcel Broodthaers. All photos by Beatriz Meseguer/

If you’ve read some of my other blog posts, you’ll know that MoMA has been experimenting with “pop-ups”—drop-in learning and art-making spaces—in closer proximity to the galleries for the past couple of years. These impromptu spaces are something that the Department of Education has long advocated for because offering hands-on activities helps visitors make connections to the art on view.

Creating from Erasing: A Workshop Inspired by Marcel Broodthaers
Diane Bertolo, book artist, leads participants in an erasure.

Artist Diane Bertolo leads participants in an erasure. All images: Erasures: A Poetry Workshop Inspired by Marcel Broodthaers, March 22, 2016, The Museum of Modern Art. Photographer: Beatriz Meseguer/ © 2016 The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Marcel Broodthaers: A Retrospective bursts at the seams with text in all forms. Given Marcel Broodthaers’s interest in language, it’s fitting that MoMA’s second-floor bookstore is where, every Tuesday for the next four weeks, visitors have the opportunity to explore the artist’s work in a workshop led by Elizabeth Zuba, a poet and translator of the artist’s work, and Diane Bertolo, an artist and Broodthaers enthusiast.

February 27, 2014  |  Collection & Exhibitions
Apollinaire’s Visual Poetry

As artists continue to expand the definition of drawing, and art historians redefine the medium accordingly, the kinds of works on paper we acquire have become increasingly unorthodox, ranging from room-size installations to the traces of performances. Yet sometimes a humble sheet of paper from the beginning of the 20th century is just as radical.

February 5, 2014  |  Artists, Collection & Exhibitions
The Poetry of Silence: Jackson Mac Low’s Drawing-Asymmetry

Jackson Mac Low. Drawing-Asymmetry #5. 1961. Ink and colored ink on paper, 8 9/16 x 11 7/8″ (21.7 x 30.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift, 2008. © 2014 The Estate of Jackson Mac Low

Jackson Mac Low. Drawing-Asymmetry #5. 1961. Ink and colored ink on paper, 8 9/16 x 11 7/8″ (21.7 x 30.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift, 2008. © 2014 The Estate of Jackson Mac Low

If you visit MoMA’s exhibition There Will Never Be Silence: Scoring John Cage’s 4’33”, you will encounter a suite of enigmatic drawings by Fluxus-affiliated poet Jackson Mac Low, comprising swirling letters and seemingly nonsensical combinations of words. Although they seem like meaningless scribbles, the words are actually legible and meant to be read aloud.

October 18, 2013  |  Artists, Learning and Engagement
Walk Like a Surrealist

In regard to poetry, modernist poet Ezra Pound repeatedly urged his fellow practitioners to “Make It New.” Working in counterpoint to the tradition of the guided city tour, my participatory walks take their cue from poetry, where writer and reader collaborate in creating and gleaning new meanings for the world. Tuning in to the nuances of the everyday, we might make visual poems on the sidewalk with found objects, a duet with light, or monuments with our bodies in response to civic statues in public space.

“Pipe Dream” is a new walk debuting at MoMA on Saturday, November 16. It’ll take us down seldom-seen Museum hallways, through the Magritte exhibition, and outside into the sensory tangle of midtown Manhattan. Drawing from Surrealist techniques, we will create within, and rediscover, a neighborhood often cast off as one that only serves big business and rigorous consumers. But since the walk is essentially a set of prompts and reveals, I don’t want to give away too much! Come experience it for yourself.

You can also experience “Pipe Dream” as part of Into the Participatory Walk, a three-session workshop at MoMA that begins on Thursday, November 7. There, we’ll explore poetic decision making and figure out how to create a participatory walk together. I’ll be hosting a “dress rehearsal” of “Pipe Dream” when the Museum is closed as part of the workshop.

"Our Open Studios" by Todd Shalom

“Our Open Studios” by Todd Shalom. Photo courtesy of Elastic City

I’ve been leading participatory walks for 10 years, arriving to this form after studying poetry and sound. Over time, my poems increasingly strained against the confines of the page and became more like musical scores, so I had to create a new medium. I discovered the work of the Acoustic Ecology movement and their soundwalks, which facilitate active listening in the environment. Adopting some of their techniques and applying a lot of my own creation, I led my first sound-based walk in San Francisco in 2003.

In 2010 I founded Elastic City, a New York–based non-profit organization that commissions artists to lead participatory walks throughout the world. I quietly collaborate with the artists, many of whom work in visual media, and help them to adapt their talents to the walk form. I might assist the artist in solidifying a walk concept, planning a route, shaping the arc of the walk, or tweaking a particular moment.

"You Name It" by Todd Shalom

“You Name It” by Todd Shalom. Photo: Christian Kaye

Every artist, every medium, and every object or situation we encounter offers a multiplicity of contextualizing frames and potential lenses with which to look at them. My walks try to get us inside of as many frames and to use as many lenses as possible to get at a whole new reality, if only momentarily. We all have the ability to rearrange our relationships to the world and to one another. After leading “Fabstractions” (see the video above), I’ll just say that I now look at telephone booths very differently.

October 16, 2013  |  Learning and Engagement
Combining Poetry with Visual Art to See (and Feel) in a New Way

Kenneth Goldsmith performs a guerilla reading in the MoMA galleries.

Kenneth Goldsmith performs a guerilla reading in the MoMA galleries. Photo: Jackie Armstrong

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” – Leonardo da Vinci

When visiting a museum, especially in New York City, it’s easy to wander around without pausing to look at specific works of art. After all, there’s so much to see and crowds to contend with.

July 9, 2013  |  Events & Programs
2013 Poet Laureate Wrap-Up
Vito Acconci and Maria Mirabal

A Guerrila Reading by Vito Acconci and Maria Mirabal in the exhibition Hand Signals: Digits, Fists, and Talons, June 26, 2013. Part of Uncontested Spaces: Guerrilla Readings in MoMA Galleries

It’s been a remarkable year for poetry at MoMA. I threatened to slather the Museum with poetry, and I did. By the time it was finished, I brought over 125 poets, novelists, essayists, artists, and musicians into MoMA to do public interventions.

March 5, 2013  |  Events & Programs
Uncontested Spaces: 2013 “Laureate” Public Events
Kenneth Goldsmith intoning Russolo's "Art of Noise" manifesto in the <i>Inventing Abstraction</i> galleries,  February 2013. © 2013 Star Black

Kenneth Goldsmith intoning Russolo’s “Art of Noise” manifesto in the Inventing Abstraction galleries, February 2013. © 2013 Star Black

There’s an insane amount of poetry and poetry-related stuff going on at MoMA from now until June. Some of the best poets, authors, and musicians will be descending into the galleries for guerilla readings. Below is a list that consolidates everything in one easy-to-reference place.

February 26, 2013  |  Events & Programs
The Uncontested Space of Poetry
Catalog cover from 1969 Stockholm Moderna Musset's exhibition, "Poetry must be made by all! Transform the world!"

Catalogue cover from 1969 Stockholm Moderna Musset’s exhibition Poetry must be made by all! Transform the world!


“I’ve come to free the words.” — Brion Gysin, 1960

Poetry is like a perfume—or body odor—slithering between cracks in the wall, wafting under shut doorways, stealthily sneaking in the back door unnoticed.

June 29, 2012  |  Events & Programs
Our Favorite Lunch Poems

Stefania Heim reads at the June 8, 2012, Modern Poets event. Photo: Sarah Kennedy

You may have seen on your computer screen or heard in MoMA’s sunny Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden the lunch poem challenges offered by poets Stefania Heim and Wayne Koestenbaum earlier this month.