honors | April 20, 2011

Patti Smith, the Godmother of Punk, Makes the TIME 100

Patti Smith, one of the most singular American artists of our generation,
has been named to the TIME 100, an annual list of the most influential people in the world. Patti first captured — or, more accurately, demanded — the world’s attention with 1975’s Horses, an emotionally raw, visceral, and still-smoldering mixture of poetry and punk rock that remains one of the seminal albums of all time. Last year, she won the National Book Award for Just Kids, her memoir about finding her artistic voice in New York City in the 1960s and 70s. The book was both a celebration of a nascent artistic scene and her lifelong friendship with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

The best part about the TIME 100 — besides the fact that Patti shares honors with everyone from Barack Obama to Bruno Mars — is that the entries are written by like-minded artists and peers. In Patti’s case, R.E.M. singer and superfan Michael Stipe was called in. (Patti sung the somber-angelic chorus to R.E.M.’s “E-Bow the Letter” in 1996.) Here’s Michael Stipe:
In 2011 we face a new era of sweeping changes combating an even deeper cynicism and intolerance. With Just Kids, her memoir of her friendship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti, 64, reminds us that innocence, utopian ideals, beauty and revolt are enlightenment's guiding stars in the human journey. Her book recalls, without blinking or faltering, a collective memory — one that guides us through the present and into the future.

Read more about keynote speaker Patti Smith