John Perreault, poet and critic at The Village Voice, dies

Save Story

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

NEW YORK (AP) — John Perreault, a poet, artist, critic and curator who was a blunt and influential writer for The Village Voice and was the subject of a nude painting by Alice Neel included in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, has died. He was 78.

Perreault died Sunday at the NYU Langone Medical Center due to complications from gastrointestinal surgery, according to his husband, Jeff Weinstein.

Perreault was the Voice's art critic from 1966-74, a peak era in the downtown New York scene, and became close to Andy Warhol, Robert Smithson and other leading artists of the time. According to Weinstein, Warhol and Perreault would talk by phone "night after night after night."

"They were art world gossips," Weinstein said.

One of the first openly gay art reviewers and an emphatic champion of the avant-garde, Perreault was later the senior critic for Soho News and served as curator for several galleries, including the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse and the American Craft Museum in Manhattan.

A native of Manhattan who grew up in New Jersey, Perreault studied poetry at the New School for Social Research and was encouraged by poet John Ashbery to contribute criticism to ARTnews as a way of supporting his writing. Ashbery also provided the introduction for Perreault's poetry collection "Camouflage."

Patrons of the Whitney would know his name, bearded face and lean, angular body from the 1972 Neel oil portrait "John Perreault."

"I went up to sit for her 17 times. She labored over it," Perreault later told New York magazine. "The routine was I would come there at around noon and she would give me little bits of cheese and crackers, because she liked the idea of feeding a starving poet."

Perreault's own art will be included next month in the exhibition "Museum of Stones" at the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Most recent Entertainment stories

The Associated Press


    Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast