DIA Director’s Letter — Millage Proposal Explained
Pioneering musician, poet, author, and artist Patti Smith has made her mark on the cultural landscape throughout her forty-year career, from her explorations of artistic expression with friend and vanguard photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the 1960s and ’70s to her profound influence on the nascent punk-rock scene in the late 1970s and ’80s.
The more than sixty black-and-white images in this exhibition explore the themes that are significant to Smith: poets and writers; portraiture, including symbolic portraits; travel; and art and architecture. Smith’s photographs, taken with a vintage Polaroid camera, highlight the rich relationships between art, architecture, poetry, and the everyday. Her titles, such as Roberto Bolaño’s Chair, Herman Hesse’s Typewriter, and My Father’s Cup, reference varied muses. Such objects are tightly cropped and detached from their surroundings; divorced from their original function, they become devotional images.
Smith began taking 35 mm photographs in 1968 as components for collages and took up the serious use of the Polaroid Land Camera in 1995. Her photos are infused with personal significance and possess the same unfiltered, emotional quality prevalent in her poetry and song lyrics. The allure of her photographs is their often dreamlike imagery, and their modest size belies their depth and power.
This exhibition was organized by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut. In Detroit, the exhibition is supported by the City of Detroit.
Patti Smith Concert, June 1, SOLD OUT