The John Giorno Foundation announced today the appointment of Anthony Huberman (b. 1975, Switzerland) as Executive Director of the Foundation and Artistic Director of its public and programming venue, The Bunker.
The John Giorno Foundation was established in 2020, after the death of the poet, performer, artist, and activist John Giorno (1936-2019), as a posthumous transformation of Giorno Poetry Systems Institute, Inc. the artists’ collective, nonprofit organization and record label established by Giorno in 1974. As Executive Director, Huberman will advance the Foundation’s mission and build on its work to support artists, poets, and musicians, as well as those who study the Nyingmapa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, and to preserve and promote the work of John Giorno, including his poetry, visual and recording arts, and archives. Huberman comes to the Foundation from the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, in San Francisco, where he has served as Director and Chief Curator since 2013. Huberman will assume his new role on February 13, 2023.
Upon joining the John Giorno Foundation, Huberman will articulate a new programming vision for The Bunker, the historic loft at 222 Bowery, in Lower Manhattan, which Giorno took over from his friend, the writer William Burroughs, upon the latter’s death in 1997. In the spirit of Giorno’s life-long commitment to artist-centered forms of mutual aid, Huberman will develop a program at the Bunker where artists, poets, and musicians gather and share their interest in the work of other artists, poets, and musicians in a regular series of lectures, performances, salons, and retreats. In addition, the Foundation plans to launch a study center and library dedicated to the history of artist-curated exhibitions.
Drawing upon his network of relationships with artists, poets, musicians, curators, scholars, and museum professionals on national and international levels, Huberman will lead the John Giorno Foundation into a new phase in its 50-year history. Working in close coordination with the Board, he will spearhead a multi-year strategic plan that grows and further integrates the Foundation’s core activities, including programming, publishing, scholarship, grants for the LGBTQ+ community, and the international expansion of Giorno’s famous collaborative work Dial-A-Poem. In addition, Huberman will work with scholars, curators, and galleries to promote Giorno’s work and legacy and to maintain his extensive archive of the downtown New York art community. The Bunker will also continue to be made available to those who study the Nyingmapa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, for the benefit, in Giorno’s words, “of all sentient beings.”
“Anthony Huberman will be the catalytic leader who will provide the John Giorno Foundation with broader levels of recognition and who will launch it towards new horizons that will benefit communities in New York City and throughout the world,” said Ugo Rondinone, President of the John Giorno Foundation’s Board.
“It is with great excitement that I join the John Giorno Foundation in this moment of transition and growth,” said Huberman. “I have always worked to place the artist’s perspective at the center of any organization, and I am honored and grateful to have the opportunity to continue this in the context of an artist-endowed foundation. The John Giorno Foundation, in particular, represents the spirit of collaboration, exchange, and mutual experimentation between artists, poets, and musicians that Giorno fostered over the course of his life. He was always invested in his community of peers, whether by inviting people to perform with him or to contribute to Dial-a-Poem, by releasing a record of their work on his label, or even by paying their rent. Since the Bunker at 222 Bowery has been an informal gathering place for diverse artistic communities over the past several decades, one of my goals is to make it a future-facing space where those communities can meet each other, listen to each other, and learn from each other as they navigate contemporary concerns. I think this resonates with what so many of us want to be a part of right now—a place for artists to gather and be with other artists, and for audiences of all backgrounds to have access to the artist’s perspective. I know the John Giorno Foundation can help create this kind of community.”
Laura Hoptman, a member of the John Giorno Foundation’s Board, says of the new appointment: “One of John’s most revolutionary visions was the one he had of creating and supporting an inter-generational community of poets, musicians, artists and like-minded individuals, with headquarters at the storied Bunker at 222 Bowery. Although John’s efforts stand as an important chapter in the cultural history of underground New York from the Beat Generation to relational aesthetics, his aim was to keep his vision alive and growing, even after he had ‘left the set.’ The board of the Giorno Foundation feels that Anthony Huberman, with his creativity, boldness, and artist-centric point of view, is the right person to make John’s vision a reality.”
Huberman brings over two decades of experience working in the contemporary arts. Since joining the Wattis Institute in 2013, he has curated exhibitions of new work by artists such as Lydia Ourhamane, Vincent Fecteau, Adam Linder, Laura Owens, KRM Mooney, Sam Lewitt, Wang Bing, and Diamond Stingily, among others, as well as the highly-praised group exhibitions Mechanisms (2017, which became Other Mechanisms at Vienna’s Secession in 2018) and the three-part Drum Listens to Heart (2022). He also initiated and oversaw the Wattis’s research program, where year-long seasons of public events revolved around the work of individual artists such as Joan Jonas, Andrea Fraser, David Hammons, Seth Price, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Dodie Bellamy, Cecilia Vicuña, and Lorraine O’Grady. Huberman will continue curating nationally and internationally, and, in the coming year, is curating exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, at Raven Row in London, as well as completing two projects at the Wattis Institute in San Francisco.
Prior to the Wattis, in 2010, Huberman founded The Artist’s Institute at Hunter College, establishing an innovative curatorial model for a new institution, working closely with artists such as Jimmie Durham and Rosemarie Trockel, and serving as a Distinguished Lecturer in Hunter’s Art History department. He previously worked as Chief Curator at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Curator at Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Curator at SculptureCenter in New York, and Director of Education and Public Programs at MoMA PS1, where he initiated WPS1, the museum’s online radio station. Huberman also co-curated the 2014 Liverpool Biennial. In addition to the exhibition catalogs for Drum Listens to Heart (2022), Mechanisms (2017), For the blind man in the dark room looking for the black cat that isn’t there (2010), and Grey Flags (2006), Huberman has written, edited, and co-edited numerous books, including What happens between the knots? (2022), Where are the tiny revolts? (2020), Dodie Bellamy is on our mind (2020), David Hammons is on our mind (2018), and Today We Should Be Thinking About (2015), among others. He has contributed to Artforum, Frieze, Afterall, Flash Art, Art Review, Dot Dot Dot, and The Wire, among other magazines.