Current
Exhibitions

SEP 14, 2016–DEC 11, 2016

ROOT CONNECTION: 20 YEARS OF THE PATTI SMITH COLLECTION

Patti Smith Prom Photograph, from The Patti Smith Collection of the F. W. Olin Library, Mills College.
Patti Smith Prom Photograph, from The Patti Smith Collection of the F. W. Olin Library, Mills College.

Patti Smith Prom Photograph

The Patti Smith Collection of the F. W. Olin Library, Mills College

This expansive exhibition features rare and unique materials—many never exhibited in public—from the Special Collections of the Mills F. W. Olin Library. Photographs (both of and by Smith), publications, recordings, and ephemera are showcased together to highlight the breadth of Smith’s artistic experimentation across disciplines including (and not limited to) poetry, music, and photography.

Co-curated by Mills College Art Museum Director, Dr. Stephanie Hanor, Library Director and Special Collections Curator, Janice Braun, and Smith donor and collector, Robert Byler, this two-location exhibition presents an unusual and intimate examination of Smith’s work from multiple perspectives, demonstrating the artist’s on-going innovativeness and influence

Patti Smith at the Palladium, New York, 1976. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of The Patti Smith Collection, F. W. Olin Library, Mills College. Photo: Mario F. Monti.
Patti Smith at the Palladium, New York, 1976. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of The Patti Smith Collection, F. W. Olin Library, Mills College. Photo: Mario F. Monti.

Patti Smith at the Palladium, New York, 1976

Gelatin silver print.
Photo: Mario F. Monti

A screening room hosts short films in which Smith introduces the places, people, and cultural moments that inspire and inform her practice, such as French writer Jean Genet, Robert Frank, and the punk eclecticism of 1970s New York’s “Downtown Scene.” The exhibition will also include listening stations rotating Smith’s music and readings; album art; broadsides and concert announcements; personal effects (yearbooks and a prom photo!); and international versions and various types of releases of her published works. Visitors to the library and museum are encouraged to hang-out, lounge in the museum and library reading rooms, and dig-into the evocative spread of materials.

This exhibition is supported by the Joan Danforth Art Museum Endowment.