Patti Smith is a writer, performer and visual artist who gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary mergence of poetry and rock. Her seminal album, Horses, bearing Robert Mapplethorpe's renowned photograph, has been hailed as one of the top 100 albums of all time. Smith has now written an honest and moving coming-of-age story of her extraordinary relationship with Mapplethorpe. Just Kids is a chronicle of friendship in its truest sense, a portrait of two innocents who, in a chance meeting in 1967, become lovers and then friends, and fulfill their mutual dream of becoming great artists.
It was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer when a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion and initiation. Patti Smith would evolve as a poet, and performer, and Robert Mapplethorpe would direct his highly provocative style toward photography. Bound in innocence and enthusiasm, they traversed the city from Coney Island to 42nd Street, and eventually to the celebrated round table of Max's Kansas City, where the Andy Warhol contingent held court. In 1969, the pair set up camp at the Hotel Chelsea and soon entered a community of the famous and infamous -- the influential artists of the day and the colorful fringe. It was a time of heightened awareness, when the worlds of poetry, rock and roll, art, and sexual politics were colliding and exploding. In this milieu, two kids made a pact to take care of each other. Scrappy, romantic, committed to create, and fueled by their mutual dreams and drives, they would prod and provide for one another during the hungry years.