In 2015, Joe Zito asked me to write a short introduction to the catalog that accompanied his retrospective exhibition at Lennon, Weinberg in NYC. The project morphed into a much more lengthy and in depth narrative of Joe’s conflicted creative process. The catalog can be seen in its entirety through the following link. Below is an excerpt from the publication.
In an old family photograph, there is a picture of Joe between Jamie and his brother as young boys, all three crowded around a threadbare Victorian style burgundy high backed chair. This chair has a long Zito history, having first belonged to Blaze, then requisition without complaint by Joe to become one of the handfuls of things that has always had a hallowed place in every single studio since Joe became a practicing artist. It was where he did much of his thinking, a lot of his listening, some of his talking and hopefully a bit of his late afternoon napping. When planning for the upcoming survey of his work at the Lennon Weinberg gallery, now comfortably ensconced in a ground floor space in Chelsea, the red chair found itself in the klieg light of retrospective preoccupation, in Joe’s mind the ultimate autobiographical talisman and a physical embodiment of the continuity between his past, present and future. I should have felt its absence when I took an inventory of his studio to begin this piece of writing but I didn't. It was only when he answered my question as to what would be on the cover of the catalogue that I realized it was gone. Joe had taken it to a factory some weeks before where it is destined to be destroyed during the complex process of casting an exact replica in a white synthetic material called hydro-stone. “It will be a ghost chair” he said, momentarily lost in thought and apparently still absorbed with the implications of his decision. After some time, he finally spoke again. “You know Faulkner once said that the past is never really the past... so I was thinking, maybe it is important to finally let go of certain things without anger or regret, especially if they help me define the present.”