by Constance Lewallen
In addition to a checklist and bibliographies of work by and about Joe
Brainard, this exhibition catalog includes published and unpublished
writings by Mr. Brainard, interviews, letters and the essays, "Joe Brainard"
by John Ashbery, "Acts of Generosity" by Constance Lewallen and "Joe
Brainard's Quiet Dazzle" by Carter Ratcliff. Ms. Lewallen chronicles
Joe Brainard's formative years in Oklahoma and moves to New York City
and Boston, his involvement with Pop Art, assemblage and painting, and
his literary and artistic associations. She writes: "His collaborations
with writers [including Ted Berrigan, Kenward Elmslie and Frank O'Hara]
took many forms, from comic strips to book covers and illustrations...
. Not since the nineteenth century can we find such a rich joining of
poetry and art." "Joe was a creature of incredible tact and generosity.
He often gave his work to friends but before you could feel obliged
to him he was already there, having anticipated the problem several
moments or paragraphs earlier, and remedying it while somehow managing
to deflect your attention from it."
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