Brett Wallace and John Yau at LinkedIn - Photo by: Dan Mills
The following post is part of "The Conversation Project" - a series of interviews with influencers in the contemporary art world.
I had the opportunity to sit down in a conversation with John Yau at LinkedIn to discuss his career trajectory in the art world as a poet, curator and arts writer. I have been a longtime fan of John's writing and this was a special opportunity for me to sit with him.
John is a cherished American poet, curator and arts writer who lives in New York City. His first book entitled, "Cross Canal Street", was published in 1976 and he has published over 50 books of poetry, artists' books, fiction, and art criticism since.
John's career trajectory is a story where talent and passion collide with opportunity. It all began at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston when John was about seven and came across the painting, "La Japonaise (Camille Monet in Japanese Costume)" by Claude Monet completed in 1876. John has been looking at art ever since. John Way, the father of one of John's childhood friends and a painter, also had an early impression on John by exposing him to the artist's home studio at a young age. John wrote his first poem at about 13 and kept vigorously reading and writing poetry, at times skipping school to do so.
John is an amazing storyteller and very gracious with his time. Our scheduled 30 minute conversation easily ran about 60 minutes. As a result, we decided to share the interview in sections.
I had the impression that while we were talking about some of the breaks John was given in his career by folks such as Ingrid Sischy, John was, in a way, sending the elevator back down and giving me a break by engaging in such a fascinating conversation!
Take a listen to the first part of our conversation to learn more about how John's career trajectory from visiting Grolier bookstore in Harvard Square, studying with the famous poet John Ashbury and how he made the leap to become an arts writer in New York City in the 1970's.
I hope that you enjoy this first part of our conversation. Special thanks to my colleague, Dan Mills, for the excellent video work.