Poet Taylor Johnson selected for inaugural role for 2022

The 2022 poetry initiative is supported by Van Cleef & Arpels

New York, NY (January 11, 2022)— The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, in collaboration with the Academy of American Poets, announced today that Taylor Johnson has been selected as the inaugural Poet-in-Residence for 2022. This new initiative builds upon the institution’s legacy of engaging forms of abstraction in the visual arts and beyond, as well as its history of poetry events, and continues the Guggenheim’s commitment to amplifying diverse voices and perspectives within its programming. The launch of the Poet-in-Residence program was announced at an event celebrating the life of artist and writer Etel Adnan (1925–2021) that featured readings of her poems and original works by Ammiel Alcalay, Omar Berrada, Stephen Motika, Asiya Wadud, and Anne Waldman.

The yearlong initiative is supported by Van Cleef & Arpels.

The Poet-in-Residence initiative will introduce encounters with poetry throughout the Guggenheim. In his new role, Johnson will work with Guggenheim staff to develop, organize, and participate in a yearlong series of public programs including poetry readings, workshops, performances, and activations designed for a range of audiences. These presentations by contemporary poets and writers will take place throughout the year in connection with the exhibitions on view by Jennie C. Jones and Cecilia Vicuña.

“By finding new ways to notice and to listen collectively we are bringing the vision of our founders forward—to be a place where artists and the public create together what doesn’t yet exist,” said Cyra Levenson, Deputy Director and Gail Engelberg Director of Education and Public Engagement.

In addition to forthcoming live events, workshops, and programming in the museum galleries, an interactive poetry space in the Aye Simon Reading Room was created as part of the initiative and is open during museum hours. The Poet-in-Residence program also builds upon the Guggenheim’s recent focus on public engagement residencies, the most recent being a yearlong collaboration with architecture and design organization The World Around.

Taylor Johnson is a poet committed to community engagement. He is the recipient of numerous fellowships from organizations such as Cave Canem, Lambda Literary, and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. Johnson’s first collection of published poems, Inheritance (Alice James Books, 2020), received the Norma Faber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America and was named a best poetry book of 2020 by the New York Times.

Johnson was selected as Poet-in-Residence through an open call organized in partnership with the Academy of American Poets by a panel that comprised Jen Benka, President and Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets; Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, award-winning poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist; Natalie Diaz, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet and 2018 MacArthur Fellow; Claudia Rankine, National Book Critics Circle Award–winning poet and 2016 MacArthur Fellow; and Jennifer Yee, Director, Public Programs, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

“The Guggenheim has a long-standing commitment to supporting the work of artists and visionaries who push the boundaries of what can be seen, heard, and understood. We believe there is great value in expanding the public imagination and are proud to support Taylor Johnson as inaugural Poet-in-Residence,” said Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation.

“We’re grateful to the Guggenheim for creating this meaningful new opportunity for a poet and pleased to be building on our collaboration which began with the Academy presenting leading poets at the museum in the 1960s. We congratulate Taylor Johnson, who has quickly defined himself as a leading poetic voice in his generation, and look forward to all he’ll do to bring poetry to museum-goers and the Guggenheim’s iconic space,” said Jennifer Benka, President and Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets. 

“We see the Van Cleef & Arpels universe as a world of poetry, with deep roots in the beauty of nature and the magic of fairy tales and literary adventures. This dimension imbues our creations with evocative power, a sweeping invitation to revel in dreams and enchantment. True to our tradition of educational and cultural initiatives, we strive to promote the legacy of the poetic universe while supporting contemporary creation, ever extolling the richness and vitality of this discipline,” said Nicolas Bos, President and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels.

About Poet-in-Residence Taylor Johnson

Taylor Johnson is from Washington, D.C. He is the author of Inheritance (Alice James Books, 2020), winner of the Norma Faber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America and named as a best poetry book of 2020 by the New York Times. Taylor has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Yaddo, the Nicholson Project, Callaloo, and the Conversation Literary Festival, among other organizations. He is the winner of the 2017 Larry Neal Writers’ Award from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the 2021 Judith A. Markowitz Award for Exceptional New LGBTQ Writers from Lambda Literary, and a 2021 Pushcart Prize for his poem “Trans is against nostalgia”. His work appears in Poetry magazine, The Paris Review, and Scalawag, among other literary journals. Taylor is a student of the percussive architecture of go-go music.

About the Academy of American Poets

Founded in 1934, the Academy of American Poets is the nation's leading champion of American poets and poetry, with supporters in all fifty states. The organization annually awards more funds to individual poets than any other organization through its prize program, giving a total of $1.25 million to more than two hundred poets at various stages of their careers. The organization also produces Poets.org, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; organizes National Poetry Month; publishes the popular Poem-a-Day series and American Poets magazine; provides award-winning resources to K–12 educators, including the Teach This Poem series; hosts an annual set of poetry readings and special events; and coordinates a national Poetry Coalition working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture.

About Van Cleef & Arpels

Founded at Paris’s 22 Place Vendôme in 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels came into being following Estelle Arpels’s marriage to Alfred Van Cleef in 1895. Over the decades, the excellence and creativity of the High Jewelry Maison established its reputation across the world. With a blend of inventiveness and poetry, Van Cleef & Arpels perpetuates a highly distinctive style that has produced numerous signatures: the Mystery Set technique, the Minaudière, the transformable Zip necklace, and the Alhambra motif. Its selection of Pierres de Caractère, exceptional gems that instill an emotion, and the savoir-faire of its Mains d’Or, the virtuoso craftsmen of the workshops, have given birth to enchanting jewelry and watchmaking collections. Whether inspired by nature, couture, dance, or imaginary worlds, the maison opens the gate to a timeless universe of beauty and harmony. Van Cleef & Arpels has established over 140 boutiques across the globe, which are perfect embodiments of its elegant and enchanting style. Throughout its history, Van Cleef & Arpels has continuously expressed its attachment to the values of creation, sharing, and transmission. This enduring commitment is made manifest through educational partnerships and cultural sponsoring in fields such as dance, visual and performing arts, design, heritage preservation, and poetry. Attuned to the virtue of words, the High Jewelry Maison has worked hand in hand with Gallimard, the Norman Mailer Center, as well as the Poetry Foundation. It has also delved into timeless stories in search of inspiration for its High Jewelry collections, nurturing its creative vision with works ranging from Shakespearian drama to the myth of Atlantis, from the fairytale of Peau d’Âne to those collected by the Brothers Grimm. Today, Van Cleef & Arpels is pleased to foster this literary kinship and continue its sponsorship approach through the Guggenheim Poet-in-Residence program.

About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was established in 1937 and is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The international constellation of museums includes the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; and the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. An architectural icon and “temple of spirit” where radical art and architecture meet, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is now among a group of eight Frank Lloyd Wright structures in the United States recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. To learn more about the museum and the Guggenheim’s activities around the world, visit guggenheim.org.