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(Credit: John Giorno Foundation)

Art

Artist John Giorno’s iconic 'Dial-A-Poem' project arrives in the UK

‘Dial-A-Poem’, the iconic project from the late New York artist John Giorno, has finally arrived in the UK, alongside a new exhibition. Famously, it was first launched way back in 1968 after a conversation with beat writer William Burroughs. It allows callers to access a vast archive of poetry and political thesis’.

Now, the new UK version of the service comes alongside a new exhibition of the artist’s works at London’s Almine Rech gallery, which features two collections of visual art. Before, the long-standing ‘Dial-A-Poem’ project could be accessed via a US phone number, but thankfully it has now been extended to a UK phone number, and it is free of charge. 

The new UK project was developed in tandem with the John Giorno Foundation. The company’s director, Elizabeth Dee, told Art Newspaper: “Initially it was a challenge. We’ve had to recode all of the files,” she said, before adding: “The plan is for the phone line to be active long term. John was always at the forefront of technology”.

‘Dial-A-Poem’ currently contains works by Patti Smith, John Ashbery, John Cage, Philip Glass, and Robert Mapplethorpe. It also contains readings from when it was originally founded that advocated civil rights and oppose the Vietnam War.

“Those texts and poems are of the time (i.e., the 1960s) but we’d like to work with other foundations to bring the concept forward,” Dee said. One such foundation is Mexico’s Casa Wabi, which has plans to launch ‘Dial-A-Poem in the country with helo from the John Giorno Foundation. In this instance. Dee appended: “We’ll invite indigenous artists, poets and musicians to contribute to the concept.”

John Giorno’s work will be on show at Almine Rech until November 13. The UK ‘Dial-A-Poem‘ can be accessed by calling: +44 20 4538 8429.