Gagosian is pleased to present “Curated by Patti Smith,” at Paris Photo 2017. Smith, internationally acclaimed musician, writer, and visual artist, has chosen a selection of her own photographs to be shown alongside works by other artists including Diane Arbus, Eugène Atget, Richard Avedon, Balthus, Gregory Crewdson, Peter Lindbergh, Vera Lutter, Sally Mann, Taryn Simon, Deborah Turbeville, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol.
Smith began taking photographs in 1978, developing an ongoing, emotionally unfiltered archive of solitary moments. Modest in scale, the softly-lit black-and-white images are totemic mementos, serving as a diaristic undercurrent to her writing, music, and performance. Throughout her travels, Smith often makes pilgrimages to significant sites, from the River Ouse where Virginia Woolf took her own life, to Frida Kahlo’s house, or Susan Sontag’s grave. These settings evoke the literary and artistic figures that Smith admires, and she affectionately photographs their homes, chairs, slippers, beds, and other personal effects. Made using a Land 250 Polaroid camera, Smith’s photographs are thus symbolic portraits, the inanimate objects embodying the deep resonance of each encounter.
Smith’s lifelong fascination with eulogy and remembrance is reflected in her selection of portraits by Richard Avedon, intimate photographs by Cy Twombly and Sally Mann, as well as the more objective gaze of Andy Warhol, in his photograph of the Empire State Building, and Taryn Simon, in her meticulous restaging of floral centerpieces from the signings of political accords and treaties. “Curated by Patti Smith” provides a glimpse of Smith and her fellow travelers, and is a coming-together of people, places, and relics.