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Patti Smith to Present Solo Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario in February 2013

Patty Smith

Patti Smith: Camera Solo to feature new photography and installation work by iconic artist, musician and poet

(TORONTO – Aug. 20, 2012) This winter the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will offer a glimpse into the world of legendary musician and artist Patti Smith through an intimate exhibition featuring over 75 works of photography, objects and film, on view from Feb. 9 to May 19, 2013. Best known for her profound influence on the nascent punk rock scene in the late 1970s and 80s, the exhibition will provide a rare opportunity to experience a different side of this rock icon through her inspired expression in the visual arts.

The first presentation of Smith’s works in Canada, Patti Smith: Camera Solo will highlight the continual connections between Smith’s photography and her interest in poetry and literature. The exhibition, originally curated by Susan Talbott, director and CEO of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, features approximately 70 black and white photographs taken with Smith’s vintage Polaroid camera, presented here as gelatin silver prints. Sophie Hackett, AGO assistant curator of photography, will oversee the exhibition’s installation alongside Talbott.

 “This highly nuanced and intimate exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to peer through the unique lens of the multi-talented Patti Smith,” says Matthew Teitelbaum, director and CEO of the AGO. “Camera Solo is a collection of works that pay homage to a variety of artistic traditions and figures, while remaining staunchly original and personal. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to showcase this side of such a formidable artist.”

For more than four decades, Smith has documented sights and spaces infused with personal significance. Her visual work possesses the same unfiltered, emotional quality prevalent in her poetry and music lyrics. The allure of her works lies in their often dreamlike imagery; their modest scale belies their depth and power.

 “In the era of digital imaging and manipulation, Smith’s works champion the use of photography in its most classical sense: as a tool to document a ‘found’ moment,” explained Talbott. “Their diminutive scale and diffused lighting emphasize the subtleties and the importance of each subject, as in Arthur Rimbaud’s Utensils or Robert’s Slippers, where the objects are tightly-cropped and detached from their surroundings.”

The exhibition will also feature Equation Daumal, a short film directed by Patti Smith and shot by Jem Cohen on 16mm and super 8 film.

Of the more than 70 photographs included in the exhibition, most are from Patti Smith’s personal collection, with a few from the collection of Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and some loans from private collectors. Several objects from the Patti Smith archive will also be on display, including Pope Benedict XV’s slippers and Smith’s Polaroid Land 250 camera.

This exhibition was organized by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut. An accompanying catalogue, co-published by the Wadsworth Atheneum and Yale University, will be available at shopAGO. Patti Smith: Camera Solo will arrive at the AGO after a highly regarded showing at the Detroit Institute of Arts, in Detroit, Michigan.

Patti Smith: Camera Solo opens to the public on Feb. 9, 2013, and is included in the price of general admission. AGO members will enjoy free admission and be invited to an exclusive preview in the days leading up to the exhibition’s public opening. More information on the benefits of AGO membership can be found at

The Art Gallery of Ontario is pleased to acknowledge the Joe Fresh® brand as the Lead Sponsor of Patti Smith: Camera Solo.

Patti Smith (b. 1946) began as a visual artist and has been making drawings and taking photographs since the late 1960s. In recent years her practice has expanded to include installation. The artist has been represented by Robert Miller Gallery since 1978. In 2008, Smith was the subject of Patti Smith Land 250 at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art 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 2002 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; Triennale di Milano, Milan; Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels and the Pompidou Center in Paris. Just Kids, a memoir of her remarkable relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe during the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies, won her the 2010 National Book Award in the nonfiction category. Her 1975 album Horses, established Smith as one of most original and important musical artists of her generation and was followed by 10 releases, including Radio Ethiopia; Easter; Dream of Life; Gone Again; Trampin' and her latest, Banga. 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. In May 2011, Smith won the Polar Music Prize, Sweden's most prestigious music award.

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Kenneth Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

Oct. 20, 2012–Jan. 20, 2013: Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting

Mar. 16–Jun.16, 2013: Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art

 Contemporary programming at the AGO is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.


For images and more information on Patti Smith: Camera Solo at the AGO, please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson; News Officer, AGO Communications 416-979-6660, ext. 403,

Melissa Prince; Veritas Communications 416-482-2669,

Caitlin Coull; Manager, AGO Communications 416-979-6660, ext. 364,

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