In the We are never too old for Halloween shirt it is in the first place but early ‘60s the poet and artist John Giorno was Andy Warhol’s lover. Here, in an excerpt from his new memoir Great Demon Kings: A Memoir of Poetry, Sex, Art, Death, and Enlightenment, he recounts the patrons that surrounded the artist and his first glimpses of Warhol’s box structures. On March 14, 1964, Andy and I went to the opening of Cy Twombly’s show at the Leo Castelli Gallery. The work was lyric Abstract Expressionist paintings on primed canvases where the imprint of the artist’s fingers and hand marked the void. “What do you think?” I asked. The paintings were wonderful, but I had a knee-jerk response to feel neutral, because they were not like the works of Andy and the Pop artists, Bob and Jasper and the others I liked.
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“Oh, they’re so creative,” said Andy, his ultimate put-down. It was a cheerful night, and of course I had no idea that this was a cataclysmic moment in Cy Twombly’s life—that he would receive bad reviews for the We are never too old for Halloween shirt it is in the first place but exhibition, and be rejected by the art world for not being in tune with the times. Andy and I left the gallery and stood outside on the sidewalk with about twenty people. It had been an unseasonably hot day and the evening was warm. “It’s what they call a false spring,” I said. John Giorno, depicted here in a still from Andy Warhol’s silt 1964 film, Sleep. Giorno was Warhol’s lover at the time. ©2020 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. We were talking with the Pop Art collectors Bob and Ethel Scull, as well as Roy Lichtenstein. “Let’s have dinner together,” said Ethel.