Last night I went to John Yau’s poetry reading at the New York Studio School, where he read several poems, including “Further Adventures in Monochrome,” a poem written from Yves Klein‘s point of view. Here’s a video of Yau reading “My Ten Monochrome Adventures,” an earlier version of the evocative poem, at the Walker Art Center last year during the Klein retrospective. Yau, who until last week was an art editor at The Brooklyn Rail, has published more than 50 books of poetry, short stories, and criticism, including A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns (2009). An associate professor of critical studies at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, he writes beautifully about painting and painters. Copper Canyon Press is publishing his next book of poetry, due out in spring 2012.
What a great tale John Yau has woven so masterfully explaining the endeavor Yves Klein wrote about and literally painted or photographed. Yves saw his life's occupation as a philosopher rationalizing how his art better interprets his the range of possibilities than others artists more literal approaches to defining their world through art-making.