While she may be better known to some for her music and poetry, Patti Smith started out as a visual artist, and has been making photographs and drawings since the 1960’s. She’s exhibited and performed around the world, and is considered one of the most original and important musical artists of her generation. I have to admit that though she was of my generation more or less, I hadn’t really followed her work until this event.
Her exhibition opened at the AGO in February, and today she participated in a media event, discussing her work with AGO Director and CEO Matthew Teitelbaum, and answering questions from the media. I’ve included images from the media event and gallery exhibition below.
I was particularly interested in seeing her work. She makes her images with a vintage polaroid camera, which brings with it a certain unique set of characteristics and constraints.
A friend had seen the show and told me she wasn’t particularly impressed by the photos, but my experience of it was different. I saw the images – most of which are (as polaroid images are) quite small – as her documentation and interpretation of people and events that are important to her, for a variety of reasons. I found it worked more for me in the context of an accumulation of images/memories, rather than indiviudal works.
I enjoyed the exhibition and discussion. If you haven’t seen it, you should go.