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  John Yau
John Yau
John Yau is a poet, fiction writer, critic, publisher of Black Square Editions, and freelance curator. His recent books include A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns (D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, 2008) and Further Adventures in Monochrome (Copper Canyon Press, 2012). His reviews have appeared in Artforum, Art in America, Art News, Bookforum, and the Los Angeles Times. He was the Arts Editor for the Brooklyn Rail (2006-2011). In January 2012, he started the online magazine, Hyperallergic Weekend, with three other writers.

In 1996, he curated Ed Moses: A Retrospective of Paintings and Drawings for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. In 2010, he helped organize Oil and Water for Stephen Harvey Fine Art Projects. In 2012, he organized Broken/Window/Plane for Tracy Williams, New York City.

He has collaborated with many artists, including Norman Bluhm, Ed Paschke, Peter Saul, Pat Steir, Jürgen Partenheimer, Norbert Prangenberg, Squeak Carnwath, Thomas Nozkowski, Max Gimblett, and Richard Tuttle, on different projects. These collaborations have been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; the Bonn Kunstmuseum, Germany; and the Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane, Australia.

He has received grants and fellowships for his poetry, fiction, and criticism from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Foundation for Contemporary Performance Art, Peter S. Reed Foundation, Ingram Merrill Foundation, and Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation. His awards include a General Electric Foundation Award, a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the Brendan Gill Award. In 2002, he was named a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government.


Confessions of a Recycled Shopping Bag



John Yau
from Further Adventures in Monochrome


I used to be a plastic bottle

I used to be scads of masticated waste

I used to be epic spittle, aka septic piddle

I used to be a pleasant colleague

I used to be a radiant ingredient

I used to be a purple polyethylene pony

I used to be a phony upload project

I used to be a stony blue inhalant

I used to be a family-size turquoise bottle

I used to be a domesticated pink bubble

I used to be a pleasant red colleague

I used to be a beaming cobalt emollient

I used to be a convenient chartreuse antidepressant



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