This winter the AGO offers a glimpse into the world of legendary musician and artist Patti Smith through an intimate exhibition featuring photographs, personal objects, and a short film. Patti Smith: Camera Solo provides a rare opportunity to experience a different side of this rock icon – best known for her profound influence on the nascent punk rock scene in the late 1970s and 80s – through her poetic expression in the visual arts.
The first presentation of Smith's works in Canada, this exhibition highlights the continual connections between Smith's photography and her interest in poetry and literature. For more than four decades, she has documented sights and spaces infused with personal significance. Her visual work possesses the same unfiltered, emotional quality prevalent in her poetry and music lyrics: their allure lies in their often dreamlike imagery; their modest scale belies their depth and power.
Curated by Susan Talbott, director and CEO of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, the exhibition features approximately 70 black and white photographs taken with Smith's vintage Polaroid camera, presented here as gelatin silver prints, alongside personal objects. The exhibition also features Equation Daumal, a film directed by Patti Smith and shot by Jem Cohen on 16mm and super 8 film.
ABOUT PATTI SMITH
Patti Smith (b. 1946) began as a visual artist and has been making drawings and taking photographs since the late 1960s. In recent years her practice has expanded to include installation. The artist has been represented by Robert Miller Gallery since 1978. In 2008, Smith was the subject of Patti Smith Land 250 at the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporaine, Paris, and Written Portrait - Patti Smith at Artium Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Strange Messenger: The Work of Patti Smith, a three hundred-work retrospective, was organized by The Andy Warhol Museum in 2002 and traveled to numerous venues including the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, and the Museum Boijsman Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Her work has also been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum Eki, Kyoto; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Triennale di Milano, Milan; Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels and the Pompidou Center in Paris. Just Kids, a memoir of her remarkable relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe during the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies, won her the 2010 National Book Award in the nonfiction category. Her 1975 album Horses, established Smith as one of most original and important musical artists of her generation and was followed by 10 releases, including Radio Ethiopia; Easter; Dream of Life; Gone Again; Trampin' and her latest, Banga. She continues to perform throughout the world and in 2007 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In July of 2005 she was presented with the prestigious insignia of Commander of the Order of the Arts and Letters, an esteemed French cultural honor. In May 2011, Smith won the Polar Music Prize, Sweden's most prestigious music award.
This exhibition was organized by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut.