NEW YORK, NY.- Robert Miller Gallery
will present "Objects of Life", a special collaborative project by Patti Smith and Steven Sebring. The exhibition opens following the television premiere of Sebrings film, "Patti Smith: Dream of Life" on the PBS series P.O.V. on December 30 at 9pm. The film will air with an additional segment shot at the gallery. Smiths latest book, 'Just Kids', a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe during the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies, will launch on January 19, during the run of the exhibition.
Utilizing the themes and sensibility of "Patti Smith: Dream of Life", an impressionistic portrait of the artist, as a point of departure, Objects of Life will include a range of works, some collaborative, some individually executed, in a celebration of the eleven-year long odyssey that the filming itself was. The exhibition will comprise five thematically linked, but separate, installations. Envisaged as the exhibitions core is the installation entitled "Objects of Life", which includes a suite of 14 significant objects belonging to Smith and Sebrings monumental photographs of these objects. Among the objects are Smiths childhood dress, her Land 250 Polaroid camera, and a tambourine made by Robert Mapplethorpe. This installation also includes "Strange Messenger", Smiths largest painting to date, and a work that plays a prominent role in "Dream of Life" and will be accompanied here by stills and a looping segment from the film, documenting its painting. This exhibition is the first time the installation is on view in New York.
In a similar vein, a second installation will include a broader sampling of ephemera and objects that have served as motifs in Smiths own photography. A third will focus on the theme of performance while others will pay homage to Arthur Rimbaud, William Blake and Robert Mapplethorpe. Smith and Sebrings collaborative collages will line the hall. These collages composite Sebrings Polaroid portraits of Smith, imageless, rich, dark albumen silver prints achieved by an extended period of exposure to light onto a handmade light-sensitive emulsion. Smith then applied sgraffito-like drawing to this precious surface. By juxtaposing the antique, albeit reconfigured, albumen silver process with Polaroid and chalk, these drawings and collaged works employ a nuanced physical layering of media that echoes the historic strata of artistic processes and photographys technical history. Ultimately the exhibition as a whole is a homage to the creative process.
In 2008, Patti Smith was the subject of "Patti Smith: Land 250" at the Fondation Cartier pour lart contemporaine, Paris, and Written Portrait - Patti Smith at Artium Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. "Strange Messenger: The Work of Patti Smith", a three hundred work retrospective, was organized by The Andy Warhol Museum in 2005 and traveled to numerous venues including the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, and the Museum Boijsman Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Her work has also been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum Eki, Kyoto; Haus der Kunst, Munich; the Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels and the Pompidou Center in Paris.
Her 1975 album 'Horses', established Smith as one of most original and important musical artists of her generation and was followed by nine releases, including 'Radio Ethiopia'; 'Easter'; 'Dream of Life'; 'Gone Again'; and 'Trampin' She continues to perform throughout the world and in 2007 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In July of 2005 she was presented with the prestigious insignia of Commander of the Order of the Arts and Letters, an esteemed French cultural honor.
Steven Sebring is an artist filmmaker and photographer based in New York. He has worked with numerous magazines and shot campaigns for Lanvin, Ralph Lauren, DKNY and Coach. His published work includes 'Lalanne, (2006), 'Bygone Days', (2005), and 'Naked Flowers Exposed', (1997). Sebrings photography has also been included in "Patti Smith Complete: Lyrics, Reflections, and Notes for the Future", (1999) and in the artwork for three of her albums including 'Twelve', (2007) her latest.