Monday, June 14, 2010
Having just completed Patti Smith's Just Kids, a memoir specifically highlighting her friendship, romance, and working relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, what was most compelling to learn was not only the talent of these two as artists during a pivotal time in history (New York City in the 1960s and 1970s) but their significant influence on each other's work.
During New York's era of beat poets and punk music, Smith and Mapplethorpe lived and worked in the historic, bohemian art hub, the Chelsea Hotel. According to Smith's memoirs, her poetry, music, performance art, and drawing was heavily influenced by her photographer friend and his his fearlessness and provocativeness. In turn, Mapplethorpe regularly used Smith as his subject du jour. Miss Smith even continued to let her friend and former lover capture her image for her album covers until his 1989 death from AIDS complications. The two were such a force together that they were given a joint gallery show at Robert Miller Gallery (where Smith is still represented) in 1978.
Of course I love the intimacy both artists exhibit in their work (albeit with very different aesthetics) and the striking imagery of Patti Smith as captured by Robert is inspiring enough, but the reason I want to share these images with you all is to show you what the Just Kids most taught me: that these are two great artists whose lives and work were inextricably entagled with one another's, and was all the better because they were. I also threw in a few snapshots of the two together in their heyday, both to provide a visual of the time of the heighth of their relationship...and also because these photos are completely awesome. Enjoy :)
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
A good friend of mine is working on a project that has got me thinking. Like many of us, everyday elements of her life (ie: a little thing called parenthood) had temporarily distracted her from more creative pursuits. Thus, she made it a goal to focus on reading more books, seeing more films, and otherwise exposing herself to potentially inspirational material. This lead her to an ongoing list, which has now led to her upcoming project, The Magpie List (website address and other info coming soon!), where she asks friends, peers, and loved ones to contribute a list of their own 10 thing (movies, songs, artists, films, etc) that have significantly moved them. I'm honored to be asked for my list, and I thought I'd take this opportunity to share it with you all as well. If nothing else, I happy to expose anyone who might be unfamiliar with a few of my favorite things. :)
1) "Nocturne in Black and Gold--The Falling Rocket" painting by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, circa 1875
2) Synecdoche, New York film by Charlie Kaufman, 2008
3) everything Miranda July touches, but start with No one belongs here more than you
4) Loose Woman, book of poetry by Sandra Cisneros
5) "Possibly Maybe" by Bjork
6) Arrested Development
7) oh yeah, and My So-Called Life
8) Untitled Film Stills, series of photographs by Cindy Sherman
9) This short from Paris, J'taime by Alexander Payne
10) Among My Swan, Mazzy Star