Beat poet Gerd Stern has had a dynamic career in media and the arts, having encountered men such as Allen Ginsberg and Marshall McLuhan. In this hour, we discuss his life, the art movements he’s been a part of, recent work with a touring exhibition, and the now finished LSD: The Opera. Penned by co-librettist Gerd alongside Ed Rosenfeld and Anne LeBaron, LSD: The Opera is an exploration of Albert Hoffman’s discovery of lysergic acid diethylamide in 1943 and the subsequent impact that discovery had upon culture, politics, spirituality, and history overall.
In other recent news, after having been accused for over 50 years by multiple publications of having dropped the letter Neal Cassady wrote Jack Kerouac that inspired Beat literature off the side of a boat, Gerd was vindicated when the letter finally resurfaced unscathed in an Oakland home. In truth, Allen Ginsberg had sent the letter to Richard Emerson at Golden Goose Press; Emerson never bothered to read it. Many are convinced that, had the letter been published, the event would have transformed Cassady into a literary giant.
Gerd is founder of the 1960s communal arts collaborative, USCO (“The Company of Us”), located in Rockland County, New York. USCO’s work was featured on two LIFE Magazine covers and has been the subject of many reviews and articles, among these a chapter in Fred Turner’s “From Counterculture to Cyberculture,” and a 2010 Art Journal article about the history of USCO. As president of Intermedia Foundation Stern presented USCO’s work as part of the “Summer of Love” exhibition in three European museums, at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, and at the Centre Georges Pompidou’s “Traces du Sacre” in Paris. His oral history was published by the University of California’s Bancroft Library Regional Oral History Office, and in 2013, he presented a seminar titled “McLuhan Plus” on prophetic technology at ZKM, in Karlsruhe. He is a contributor to the anthology “Real Virtuality” published in Germany and by the Columbia University Press.
Please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and leave us a rating and a review by clicking here.