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Patti Smith © Beni Köhler/Wikipedia
Patti Smith © Beni Köhler/Wikipedia
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Celebrating 20 Years Of Patti Smith At Mills College, Oakland

Picture of Courtney Holcomb
Updated: 3 November 2016
Currently on view at the Mills College Art Museum is Root Connection: 20 Years of Patti Smith. This is an exhibition celebrating the life and works of Smith, through her poetry, music, photography, and other published works. The exhibition is being hosted at Mills College in Oakland, where a Patti Smith Collection is kept in the university’s Heller Rare Book Room.

While Smith’s artistic tendencies spanned across a variety of mediums, she was best known as an influential part of the New York punk rock music scene. She first became famous with the debut of her album Horses in 1975, launching a musical career that would land her in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Other creative works of hers have been widely acclaimed, like her memoir, Just Kids, published in 2010. The book follows her notorious relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe, best known for his photography, and the memoir was awarded the National Book Award.

Hey Joe © Jussi/Flickr
Hey Joe | © Jussi/Flickr

Root Connection offers visitors a taste of Smith’s lesser known work, showcasing rare and unique materials, some of which have never before been displayed in public. The memorabilia featured will include photographs, publications, recordings, and ephemera, curated to show the diverse range of artistic experimentation Smith is capable of.

Patti Smith © smial/Wikipedia
Patti Smith | © smial/Wikipedia

The exhibit is curated by Dr. Stephanie Hanor, the Mills College Art Museum Director, Janice Braun, the Library Director and Special Collections Curator, and Robert Byler, a donor and collector. The exhibition will feature a screening room where Smith discusses her art and influences, listening stations playing her music and readings, and various displays of visual memorabilia. The exhibit is on display from September 14th through December 11th, accompanied by a series of related events, including a lecture, a movie night, and more. Admission to the exhibit and all programs is free. For directions and opening hours, visit the Mills College Art Museum website.