An exhibition highlighting Smith’s role as both poet and visual artist, featuring works never before exhibited in the U.S.
Patti Smith: The Coral Sea is part homage to Robert Mapplethorpe, part rumination on art, death and rebirth. Smith conceived of the multi-installation show as a progression from the white Infirmary to the stark black The Coral Sea Room. Infirmary evokes a hospital ward. The installation comprises two metal WW1-era hospital beds, various drapings and works on paper. It was shown in 2008 at the Melbourne International Arts Fair, but has been expanded and retooled to be site-specific to the CAC. The Coral Sea Room was created for Fondation Cartier, also in 2008. It is a room within a room, cordoned off by full-length black curtains. As an object, the exterior aesthetically references the Kaaba in Mecca. Outside the room are several silverprints. Inside are benches for seating, offering the visitor an area to listen to the audio (a performance of The Coral Sea by Smith and Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine) and view two projections, one on a vertical screen and one projecting down onto a bed of leather and metal.