Patti Smith, shot by photographer and current collaborator, Steven Sebring
Last night, a woman with a rare gift for careful verse and visual and musical explosion, Patti Smith, carefully walked around the Robert Miller Gallery in Chelsea with close friends like Michael Stipe and Sam Shepard. At the same time, several sycophants viewed her art and personal effects, which included her paintings, a favorite childhood dress, a white stretcher she had constructed and her favorite chair with a white sheet over it. We could just imagine Patti reading her favorite Arthur Rimbaud poems in that chair! Intimately mixed in with Patti’s paintings and pieces of nostalgia, photographer/director Steven Sebring, exhibited his photos of Patti and her world.
The Robert Miller Gallery presented the exhibit– entitled “Objects of Life” — as part two of the debut of Sebring’s documentary, “Patti Smith: Dream of Life” on PBS last week. Sebring initially showed the film at a dozen plus global festivals — including Berlin, Jerusalem, and Sundance — but made a specific decision to go with PBS with this extraordinary film covering a decade of his muses life. The film is scheduled to replay all month throughout the United States.
When I asked bearded long haired Sebring, originally from South Dakota, standing tall in a slick black jacket and hat, why he went with PBS as opposed to Bravo or A&E , he tells me, “I wanted this film to be in every living room in America.” (It is set to replay several times this month)
And, Patti Smith — musician, writer, painter, photographer — comes from the salt of the earth, USA. Born into a working class family and raised in New Jersey, she worked in a factory well before taking the stage at CBGB’s in the seventies. Now, she’s sixty-three, going strong and still a girl searching the world for experiences. (Patti Smith and Steven Sebring, Objects of Life, Robert Miller Gallery, 524 West 26th Street, January 6-Feb 6, 2010.)