In “Just Kids,” Patti Smith described being once inspired to draw a portrait of a portrait. It was one of many lines that intrigued me in the book – and you can read my review at the end of this post.
It made me wonder: Isn’t a portrait of a portrait more real than real life these days?
We live in a world of filters. Our photos are filtered; our news is filtered; our feelings are filtered.
With this in mind, I close June 2018 by posting a few photos I took at the Snite Museum of Art on the Notre Dame campus when the month began.
It seemed I had the museum to myself, as if in a recurring dream from childhood where I am the only person on earth, and I wander freely to explore amusement parks or city streets or walk along the center line of empty highways.
Here’s what I saw. No filters. Just art.
Two more, from a previous visit...
Just Kids by Patti Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Let me begin in the style of Patti Smith's Instagram account: This is a wonderful book.
The Audible version is quirky… read by the author, who drops her “g”s, pronounces piano as “piana,” and drawings as “drawlings.” Also, so many mentions of Arthur Rimbaud and the word Abyssinian. I found it enchanting, because it’s a world so different than my own.
I think – other than that we are both from New Jersey and she wore a shirt with my initials on it in the iconic cover photo for “Horses” – I have nothing in common with Patti Smith, or with Robert Mapplethorpe (who took the photo). But there was something universal that tugged at my heart when she read, “When I see this photo of me, I see him.”
Also, the book allowed me to time travel and be transported to New York City in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. All the passing names and images, all now mostly dead or lost.
This is not, however, a memorial to a lost generation. Long before they became Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, Robert encouraged Patti to sing, and Patti encouraged Robert to take photos. Am I a fan of their art? It doesn’t matter. The art they created is inconsequential to the act of its creation.
This is, in the end, a story about the transformational power of love.