I’ve finally returned from my annual vacances refreshed and relaxed, but yearning to be back by the lake. Just to think: next year we’ll be schlepping up to Vermont with an 11-month old in tow! I can’t wait to begin sharing my family traditions with our little one.
So, I realize that though I just posted my summer reading list a week ago, I neglected to plan appropriately considering that last Tuesday was our annual Daddy-Daughter Used Book Hunt. My sister, father, and I all piled into his car for a day of traipsing around Vermont’s used book stores, looking for gems. My pull was quite reserved: I only ended up with two books: A Concise History of Modern Art and Patti Smith’s Just Kids. I immediately began the latter as we drove down winding roads, and completed 70 pages by the time we’d returned to the house– I couldn’t put it down!
For those unaware, Patti Smith is an iconic singer, artist, and writer, as well as a former lover of controversial artist Robert Mapplethorpe. Of course, my art-loving partner immediately said “But wait, he was gay!” Yes, he was, and an essential part to his coming out occurred during his relationship with Smith. Just Kids is Smith’s lyrical retelling of her time with Mapplethorpe, and serves as a memoir for her first years as an artist.
Actually, I’m hesitant to call it a “memoir.” That word invariably signifies that there is a certain amount of “cheese” to the story; that a sickening slick of nostalgia infiltrates the author’s recollection of bygone years. With Just Kids, that is not the case. Smith’s words are palpable and poetic, they are absorbing and distinctive, they gloss over the mundane and delve deeply into the inner beliefs and scenes and emotions and experiences. Just Kids is an essential read for any artist, gallerist, or art lover. Smith’s recollection of her life is so wonderfully written that each word on the page becomes entirely tangible.
Photo credit: uncertain. If you know where this is from, please let me know!