Allen Ginsberg . Beat Memories

The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg
January 15–April 6, 2013
Grey Art Gallery
New York University, 100
Washington Square East,
New York
NY 10003
Tel: 212/998-6780
E-mail: greyartgallery@nyu.edu

New York City (September 28, 2012)—Compelling photographs taken by renowned 20th-century American poet Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) of himself and his fellow Beat poets are the subject of the first scholarly exhibition and catalogue of these works. New York University’s Grey Art Gallery will present Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg,which includes portraits of literary luminaries such as William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso, and Jack Kerouac, on view from January 15 through April 6, 2013. Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and curated by senior curator of photographs Sarah Greenough, the exhibition features 94 black-and-white works—many accompanied by Ginsberg’s intimate, handwritten captions—that convey the spontaneity, freedom, and exuberant lifestyle of the Beat Generation. The presentation at the Grey Art Gallery will be supplemented by original manuscripts, typewritten poems, correspondence, drawings, and sketches produced by Ginsberg and the individuals he photographed. Keep reading...

In his poem “America” (1956) Allen Ginsberg addresses the nation as if it were a codependent lover, asking, “Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine?” followed immediately by the confession, “I’m obsessed by Time Magazine. I read it every week.”

This combination of confrontation, wit, ferocity, self-examination and intelligence remain exceptional qualities in American poetry, even today. However, since his death in 1997, Allen Ginsberg’s celebrity overshadows his poetry. No wonder. He was arguably the most public poet in all of American history. He was the award-winning counter-culturist, a pioneering leader on gay rights, an outspoken opponent of the police state and its techniques of lies, repression and censorship, the godfather of spoken word and street poetics, a teacher and supporter of up-and-coming poets and artists as well as a spokesman for neglected peers. He was a conscientious objector, the practicing Tibetan Buddhist who never quite left behind the pragmatic chutzpah of his native New Jersey, or his Judaism, emerging in the 1960s as an often interviewed advocate for far-left progressivism in an age of American reactionary politics. Keep reading...

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