Punk icon Patti Smith played an indoor private concert at The Brooklyn Museum yesterday, March 9 as a thank you to the institution’s staff. This private event was part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s NYPopsUp, which is a series of 300 performances spread across the state and New York City’s five boroughs over 100 days. Other artists set for this program include Amy Schumer, Nico Muhly, Q-Tip, Rhiannon Giddens and Devonté Hynes, better known as Blood Orange.
March 9 holds a lot of importance for Smith, as it is the anniversary of the death of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe a close friend, the day she met Fred “Sonic” Smith, her late husband, and the last show she played before the pandemic. While Smith and Tony Shanahan alternated between playing music during the event, part of the performance was dedicated to Mapplethorpe, who Smith read a memorial poem for. Later in the show, Smith read an excerpt from Just Kids, which details her relationship with Mapplethorpe. Sixty people attended the event, which took place at a 10,000 square foot space meant for 880 people.
Smith will be holding another concert on May 22, which will celebrate folk legend Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday. The artist also played at the virtual Tibet House benefit concert this year, which had appearances by Phoebe Bridgers, Laurie Anderson and Cage The Elephant.
These NYPopsUp events will not be announced to the public in advance as a precaution against big crowds, but they will be free and take place at permanent locations such as museums, parks and subway stations. This coincides with part of New York City’s larger rollout plans, which include an Open Culture program to host cultural events on the city’s streets and the announcement that venues can open up at 33 percent capacity. Arenas will also open up at 10 percent capacity.
Photo Credit: Alyssa Fried