Patti Smith’s Play Is Staged by Art World’s Next Generation at Historic Chelsea Hotel


David Andrew Laws and Annie Fox performing "Cowboy Mouth" at the Chelsea Hotel. Photo: Lana Birkin.

David Andrew Laws and Annie Fox performing “Cowboy Mouth” at the Chelsea Hotel.
Photo: Lana Birkin.

Last night at the legendary Chelsea Hotel, dozens of guests, including artnet News, were treated to a traditional Spanish tapas dinner at neighborhood staple El Quijote followed by a performance of Patti Smith and Sam Shepard’s play “Cowboy Mouth,” produced by James Danner (see Norman Seef Shares His Most Famous Works in Patti Smith-Inspired Show).

The short, surreal play, which Smith and Shepard penned while holed up at the hotel, during their torrid love affair in the 1970s, fittingly took place in a cavernous ground floor space, a mere stone’s throw from the room in which it was written, and where the two are said to have passed a typewriter back and forth to collaborate.


Artist Rachel Libeskind performing The Traveling Bag.
Photo: Lana Barkin


Multidisciplinary artist Rachel Libeskind (and daughter of famed architect Daniel), who also served as art director for the production, delivered a wordless but intriguing performance piece The Traveling Bag, immediately preceding the play.

Both her performance piece and the play will be repeated nightly through June 20, followed by a changing line-up of musical performances.

The three-part evening event is the brainchild of Amanda Hameline and Rebecca Feinberg, founders of Young Artists at the Chelsea, a group of artists from numerous disciplines—theater, music, dance, visual and performance art — working to create together and influence each other. “Cowboy Mouth” marked its inaugural production (artnet Worldwide is a sponsor).

Feinberg and Hameline said the idea for the group was born over glasses of whiskey at Hameline’s kitchen table in Brooklyn one evening this past fall, while they were both lamenting the lack of a solid post-collegiate artist community.


The poster for “Cowboy Mouth” at the Chelsea Hotel.
Photo: Eileen Kinsella

Feinberg had just finished reading Smith’s memoir Just Kids and was inspired by the Smith’s recap of her life and and circle of friends and lovers, most notably the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. A copy of the book was in each guest’s goodie bag. Smith also has a new memoir coming out titled The M Train (see Patti Smith’s The Resilience of the Dreamer Celebrates the Rockaways).

Also in attendance last night was photographer Edward Mapplethorpe, brother of the late artist Robert Mapplethorpe.

The play’s associate producer and sound designer, Lillith Glimcher, who attended Harvard with Feinberg and Hameline, was in attendance with her father Marc, director of Pace Gallery, and his fiancé Fairfax Dorn, co-founder and artistic director of Marfa. turned up for the dinner and performance, as did his parents Arne and Milly Glimcher, making dinner feel like a family affair—one that we happily crashed.



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