Patti Smith Talks To Jonathan Lethem, Tells Aspiring Artists To Find New City

05/04/2010 11:34 AM |

Patti Smith reading

As part of last week’s PEN World Voices Festival, Patti Smith spoke to Jonathan Lethem (the two are currently classmates at Pratt) on Saturday at the Cooper Union, and while you can stream the whole friendly discussion right here, Vanishing New York extracted the most depressing part. After reminiscences about her short career in the publishing and book restoration industries, talk of rare book and literary paraphernalia collecting, and her new memoir Just Kids, Smith took questions, and when a woman asked whether or not it’s still possible for young artists to come to New York and make it, she had this to say:

New York has closed itself off to the young and the struggling. But there are other cities. Detroit. Poughkeepsie… New York City has been taken away from you… So my advice is: Find a new city.

Which, sure, but Poughkeepsie? What about somewhere nice, like Little Rock, Arkansas, or something? Patti also likes Jonathan’s sneakers, even though “they’re not vintage.” (ANIMAL)