Arts Desk

Patti Smith to Stick With Scheduled National Portrait Gallery Talk

If Patti Smith is bothered by the National Portrait Gallery controversy, she isn't saying.

The rock legend and recent author is speaking on Saturday at the museum in support of Just Kids, her National Book Award–winning memoir about her friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, with whom she shared an address at the Chelsea Hotel for many years.

A spokesperson for Smith's publisher said that she was not commenting on the decision by the Smithsonian Institution to censor an artwork targeted by conservative anti-gay advocates. She will speak as planned on Saturday at 2 p.m..

Mapplethorpe's photography was the subject of the last censorship crisis in D.C., a notorious 1989 episode in which the Corcoran Gallery of Art bowed to perceived pressure from Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and canceled an exhibit of his work.

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  • Lulu Hoeller

    Saw her last night here in Philadelphia... an incredible storyteller, amazing multifaceted artist, and very entertaining speaker. Lots of wonderful anecdotes about her life with Mapplethorpe. The high point was truly when she invited the audience to sing along with her to Because the Night - magical. If you can go to see her, DO.