featuresPoetry For Art
Monday, July 6th, 2009

Alcuni Telefonini: A Collaboration with Francesco Clemente

Alcuni Telefonini

Granary Books
New York

Francesco Clemente, 2008. Watercolor, From the book featured
Francesco Clemente, 2008. Watercolor, From the book featured

POETRY FOR ART – Editorial Advisor: Bill Berkson – presents newly published poetry (or poetry posted to the web for the first time) that relates to visual art. It can be poetry that responds, like criticism, to work on view at the time of posting. Or, as is the case here, it can represent a collaboration of between artist and poet. Alcuni Telefonini is a livre d’artiste published in an edition of 70 by Granary Books, New York, with words by Vincent Katz and images by Francesco Clemente. The poems were written in Italy, Germany, and France in 2002, while the author was a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. The watercolors were made during the summer of 2006 in Italy. artcritical has extracted three poems from Alcuni Telefonini:, “Back,” “Breath,” and “Bricks,” arranged over four double-page spreads out of 28 pages. The book was printed in 2007 at Silicon Gallery Fine Art Prints, Philadelphia.

Vincent Katz is a poet, translator, art critic, editor, and curator. He is the author of nine books of poetry, including Cabal of Zealots (1988, Hanuman Books), Understanding Objects (2000, Hard Press), and Rapid Departures (2005, Ateliê Editorial), and two volumes of translation from Sextus Propertius, Charm (Sun and Moon Press, 1995) and  The Complete Elegies (Princeton, 2004).  In addition to his work with Clemente, Katz has made other book collaborations with artists, including Rudy Burckhardt, Wayne Gonzales, and Alex Katz.  Vincent Katz writes frequently on contemporary art and has published essays on the work of Francesco Clemente, Jim Dine, Kiki Smith, Philip Taaffe, and Cy Twombly. He is the editor of the poetry and arts journal VANITAS and of Libellum books.

Francesco Clemente, who was born in Naples, Italy, in 1952, moved to New York City in 1981, though he continues to spend time in Italy and India.  He has often engaged in collaborations, both in India with local craftsmen, and in New York with artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, among others. He has published many works in conjunction with poets, including John Wieners, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley, and Rene Ricard.  Clemente’s works on paper were the focus of a full retrospective organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1990, which traveled within the United States and to the Royal Academy of Arts, London (1991).  The artist’s comprehensive oeuvre was the subject of a retrospective exhibition, Clemente, mounted by the Guggenheim Museum, New York (1999-2000), which traveled to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain (2000). Most recently, a survey of the artist’s work was organized by the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli (2002-2003).

In the Poetry For Art series, artcritical present three poem from the book arranged on four double page spreads:

(click the thumbnails for full size reproductions of page spreads)