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Via Jonathan Anderson, An Homage To Joe Brainard
for Loewe Men’s AW2021-22
By unearthing the forgotten works of the American artist and writer Joe Brainard (1942-1994), Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson presented a trio of insightful dialogues to complement Loewe’s Autumn Winter 2021-22 men’s collection with nostalgic memories from the New York School. Designed by M/M Paris, an artist catalogue for an unrealised exhibition was sent to editors, offering a sweeping survey of Brainard’s bookmaking practice, painting, collage and poetry. Previously, Anderson’s fascination with queer art movements on both sides of the Atlantic has led to collaborations with (and homages to) the likes of Paul Thek, David Wojnarowicz and Gilbert & George across both the Loewe and J.W. Anderson collections.
In this series of intimate discussions, each duo offers a unique perspective on and connection to Brainard’s world – one firmly anchored in the naive narratives of 1960s and 70s zine-making culture and Pop Art seen through a soft focus lens.
Scroll through to watch Brainard’s brother John in conversation with the poet Ron Padgett, writer Constance Lewallen in conversation with the poet Anne Waldman, and the writer Paul Auster in conversation with acclaimed director Jim Jarmusch.
“Art to me is a way of keeping busy, a way of showing my appreciation of things I especially like. A way of pleasing other people. (Which pleases me) and a way of impressing other people. (Which unfortunately does not impress me). — Joe Brainard
John Brainard & Ron Padgett
brother, best friend
Constance Lewallen & Anne Waldman
Paul Auster & Jim Jarmusch
An excerpt from ‘Faith in Myself’, an essay by Eric Troncy for A Joe Brainard Show In A Book
Van Gogh. Who is Van Gogh? Van Gogh was a famous painter, whose paintings are full of inner turmoil and bright colors. Perhaps Van Gogh’s most famous painting is Starry Night, a landscape painting full of turmoil and bright colors. There are many different sides to Van Gogh. When Van Gogh fell in love with a girl who didn’t return his love, he cut off his ear and gave it to her as a present. It isn’t hard to imagine her reaction. Van Gogh’s portrait of a mailman with a red beard is probably ane of the most sensitive paintings of a mailman ever painted. It’s interesting to know that Van Gogh himself had a red beard. When Van Gogh was alive, no one liked his paintings, except his brother, Theo. Today, people flock to see his exhibitions. Van Gogh once said of himself: “There is something inside of me – what is it?”
On March 31, 1971, Joe Brainard read this text to an audience at St. Mark’s Church in Manhattan’s East Village, a reading organized by the Poetry Project, founded in 1966. You can listen to the audio of the reading and appreciate the speaker’s talent in gaining the audience’s sympathy as well as their chuckles while he was speaking. His diction was perfect-he was a slutterer but when he spoke in public his stutter would disappear.
Joe Brainard’s obituary was published in the New York Times on May 27, 1994, after he succumbed to AIDS-related pneumonia at the age of 52 Roberta Smith described Brainard as an “artist, writer, set designer and frequent collaborator with the New York School poets,” refusing to focus on one discipline over another -in fact she could have added even more to that list: in saying “Mr. Brainard exhibited at the Fischbach Gallery in 1971, 72, 74 and ’75,” she omits the works he had created or showed between 1975 and 1994. For good reason: by the early 80s Joe Brainard had decided to no longer show his pieces, feeling burned out by the commercial aspect of the whole system. “The art scene has gotten loo big, too serious, too sacred, too self-important and too expensive,” he said to a journalist from People Magazine who presented him and his work in an article, “Think Tiny. In 1975, Brainard “thought small” for his show at the Fischbach Gallery, presenting at least half of the 3000 small (drawings, paintings and collages) which had taken him months to make, and selling them for $25 apiece, an astonishing price. The works involved a wide range of subjects (such as flowers, houses, televisions, cherries, abstract figures, interiors, underwear, and playing cards): “Though subject matter does exist in my work, form does dominate,” he said. So it would be impossible to characterize the pictorial oeuvre of Joe Brainard (a fortiori, if we agree on the fact that his work includes his oil paintings as well as his collages and graphic illustrations), because he clearly chose to defy definition or categorization when referring to it. Some of his work does have something in common with Pop Art but it also tries to move away from that label as much as possible-in any case Brainard did not want to be linked to any trend or label which might restrict his freedom of movement In the flyer which accompanied his first solo show, at the Alan Gallery in New York in 1965, John Ashbery’s description of Brainard’s work seemed the most honest and, interestingly, also the most accurate when describing his later work: “(Brainard’s work forms) a glittering microcosm, ordered, very formal, very dramatic and beautiful, and he proves that beauty is really interesting after all.”
A Joe Brainard Show In A Book will be sold in selected bookstores worldwide, with proceeds supporting Visual Aids.
Discover the Loewe Men’s Autumn Winter 2021-22 collection below, where Brainard’s oeuvre appears across prints and knitwear, as well as the patchwork structures of outerwear and leather marquetry.
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