Partner Kenward Elmslie

Queer Places:
Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park N, Dayton, OH 45405, Stati Uniti
Poet's Corner, Calais, VT 05648, Stati Uniti

Joe Brainard (March 11, 1942 – May 25, 1994) was an American artist and writer associated with the New York School. His prodigious and innovative body of work included assemblages, collages, drawing, and painting, as well as designs for book and album covers, theatrical sets and costumes. In particular, Brainard broke new ground in using comics as a poetic medium in his collaborations with other New York School poets. He is best known for his memoir I Remember, of which Paul Auster said: “It is . . . one of the few totally original books I have ever read.”[1]

Joe Brainard was born March 11, 1942, in Salem, Arkansas, and spent his childhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is the brother of painter John Brainard.

Brainard became friends with Ron Padgett, Dick Gallup, and Ted Berrigan during high school while working on the literary journal The White Dove Review, which was printed five times during 1959/1960. The 18-year-old Brainard joined the journal as its art editor after fellow Central High classmate Padgett sent Brainard an anonymous Christmas card praising his work.

After high school, the artist re-united with the White Dove boys in New York City shortly after leaving the Dayton Art Institute.[2][3]

By 1964, Brainard had already had his first solo exhibition and was ensconced in a circle of friends that included Frank O'Hara, Kenneth Koch, Alex Katz, Edwin Denby, Larry Rivers, Fairfield Porter, James Schuyler, Jane Freilicher, Virgil Thomson, John Ashbery, among many others. He also began a relationship with Kenward Elmslie which lasted much of his life, despite having other lovers. He found much success as an artist, until he removed himself from the art-world in the early 1980s. He devoted the last years of his life to reading.

Brainard died of AIDS-induced pneumonia May 25, 1994.


  1. Brainard, Joe (2001). I Remember. New York City: Granary Books. p. Back cover. I Remember is a masterpiece. One by one, the so-called important books of our time will be forgotten, but Joe Brainard's modest little gem will endure. In simple, forthright, declarative sentences, he charts the map of the human soul and permanently alters the way we look at the world. I Remember is both uproariously funny and deeply moving. It is also one of the few totally original books I have ever read.
  2. Padgett, Ron. (2004). Joe: A Memoir of Joe Brainard. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press.
  3. Kline, Joshua. (2010). The White Dove Review: How a Group of Tulsa Teens Created a Literary Legend, This Land Press.
  4. Lewallen, Constance M. (2001). "Acts of Generosity". In Constance M. Lewallen, Joe Brainard: A Retrospective (pp. 5–44). New York City: Granary Books, Inc.
  5. Hello Joe: A Tribute to Joe Brainard. Pressed Wafer, 2, 85–87.
  6. Lauterbach, Ann. (2008). Joe Brainard & Nancy. In The Nancy Book (pp. 7–24). Los Angeles: Siglio Press.
  7. Wolf, Matt. "About the Film – I Remember – A Film About Joe Brainard". Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  8. Register of the Joe Brainard Archive [1] In the Mandeville Special Collections Library archives (accessed 1/20/2011).