Photo courtesy of MoMA PS1

Photo courtesy of MoMA PS1

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Patti Smith: Resilience of the Dreamer

The internationally acclaimed artist, musician and poet Patti Smith—a Rockaway resident—conceived Resilience of the Dreamer, a large-scale installation and photography exhibit specifically for Rockaway!

Having witnessed the destruction of Rockaway residents' personal belongings during Hurricane Sandy, Smith installed a gilded four-post bed with pure white linens in a long-abandoned building that lacked windows and parts of its roof. Over the duration of the exhibit, the bed wore down physically, yet remained in place, symbolizing courage and resilience.

Smith also exhibited black-and-white photographs she took over the last several years that focus on objects that were dear to their owners: Robert Mapplethorpe’s slippers, Robert Graves’s hat, Virginia Woolf’s bed, Frida Kahlo’s corset, William Burroughs’s bandanna, among others.

An adjacent gallery was dedicated to Walt Whitman and included books of his poetry, which visitors were encouraged to read his poetry. Smith also placed five granite stones engraved with verses from Whitman’s poetry to mark the edges of Fort Tilden, which remain today.


Rockaway! was made possible through the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Rockefeller Foundation and The Secunda Family Foundation with additional support provided by the Moore Charitable Foundation, National Grid and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Special thanks to Volkswagen of America for their past and current support.