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POETRY PLASTIQUE February 9-March 10, 2001
"Poetry Plastique" presents the work of 34 poets and artists working to move poetry off the page and into sculpture, film, painting, assemblage, photography-even skywriting. Pushing the boundaries of textuality, these literary and visual artists move poetry into a new dimension that emphasizes the concreteness and materiality of the written word. Featuring both collaborations between poets and artists and well as visual work by poets and textual work by visual artists, "Poetry Plastique" presents some of the most significant poets and artists of the time in a context that promises to change our understanding of poetry and its relation to visual art.
"Poetry Plastique" includes new work as well as an historical section of works from the 1960s to 1980s that provides a context for understanding the developments charted by the show. Extending from the work of visual poetry and book art, the poem-objects in "Poetry Plastique" suggest a markedly different approach to language than is often seen. Indeed, while language is a common element in much contemporary visual art, the works in "Poetry Plastique" use language not as a conceptual screen or a set of received ideas but as an active principle for articulation and meaning.
"Poetry Plastique" is a verbal explosion in the art factory. It returns cutting-edge poetry to the center of art culture, a position poetry occupied for much of the last century. It is a celebration of the physical dimensions of the written word and the textual dimensions of art objects.
"Poetry Plastique" is curated by Jay Sanders and Charles Bernstein and includes works by
Carl Andre, David Antin, Arakawa, Susan Bee, Wallace Berman, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge and Kiki Smith, Christian Bök, John Cage, Clark Coolidge and Philip Guston, Robert Creeley and Cletus Johnson, Johanna Drucker and Brad Freeman, Hollis Frampton, Madeline Gins and Arakawa, Kenneth Goldsmith, Robert Grenier, Lyn Hejinian, Lyn Hejinian and Emilie Clark, Tan Lin, Jackson Mac Low, Steve McCaffery, Emily McVarish, Tom Phillips, Nick Piombino, Leslie Scalapino, Mira Schor, Robert Smithson, Michael Snow, Richard Tuttle and Charles Bernstein, and Darren Wershler-Henry.
*A fully illustrated catalog, including statements from most of the artists and introductory essays by Sanders and Bernstein, has been produced by Granary Books in association with Marianne Boesky Gallery.
Jay Sanders is a writer and curator working at Marianne Boesky Gallery.
Charles Bernstein is the author of more than twenty collections of poetry and essays. His most recent books include Republics of Reality: 1975 - 1995, poems from Sun & Moon Press and My Way: Speeches and Poems, from the University of Chicago Press, and, as editor, Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word (Oxford University Press). Bernstein is David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters at SUNY-Buffalo, where he is Director of the Poetics Program. More information: