Dream of Life

Patti Smith & Robert Mapplethorpe ©Norman Seeff 1969

In the sixties, a brave young woman left her home in New Jersey to seek out a new life in New York City. If Patti Smith had an idealistic notion of how her life would be in NY – her newly adopted city would quickly educate her that although it offered untold opportunities for riches and fame – it also expected you to fight for it, and suffer in order to achieve it.

Her bond with Robert Mapplethorpe was forged when he rescued her from an older man, who having just bought her a much-needed meal, now expected something in return. Both of them were young and hungry, figuratively and literally, for the kind of rich creative life that only NYC could afford. They clung to each other and encouraged each other’s artistic growth, inspiring themselves and being inspired by a series of interesting and eccentric artists who passed through the now historic, Chelsea Hotel and Max’s Kansas City at that time (Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Sam Shepard and Andy Warhol and his factory followers).

Photographs of Patti Smith & Robert Mapplethorpe ©Judy Linn

Although their relationship underwent a series of changes, from friendship to lovers and back again as Robert began to live out the changes in his sexual life and Patti began new relationships of her own – they made a pact of sorts, a commitment to be there for each other until they felt strong enough to be on their own and although they did eventually end up apart (Patti in Detroit with Fred Smith and Robert in NYC with Sam Wagstaff), their bond essentially remained unbroken to the end.

Patti Smith & Robert Mapplethorpe ©Norman Seeff 1969

Patti Smith’s new memoir, “Just Kids” is an extraordinary look into the creative life of two iconoclasts’ whose artistic journeys were forged against the backdrop of 1960’s-‘70’s New York.


2 thoughts on “Dream of Life

  1. Wow, great article. The images are stunning. I don’t know much about these two. I’m happy you shared it. Patti’s memoir will be extraordinary, no doubt. The 60s and 70s art and music world always fascinate me. Are you reading her memoir?

  2. Thanks! I’m the same way, I have a fascination with the art world of that time period – so many great artists broke new ground. I read Patti’s memoir last month and loved it – I really think you would too.


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