Patti Smith to Honor Oscar Wilde in Reading Prison Exhibition

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Patti Smith will be participating in a two-month Artangel exhibition, “Inside—Artists and Writers in Reading Prison,” that honors Oscar Wilde’s infamous years behind the bars. The event will be taking place from Sept. 4 to Oct. 30 at the site of Wilde’s imprisonment, a space that has never been opened to the public before.

Smith is joined by many other creative minds to cultivate the project, including actors Ben Whishaw and Ralph Fiennes, writer Colm Toibin, artist Ai Weiwei and more. Every Sunday at midday, one of the artists or writers will read “De Profundis” at the prison chapel. The nearly 100-page love letter addressed to “Bosie,” or Lord Alfred Douglas, was written by Wilde during his second year at the Reading Gaol, where he experienced some of the most harrowing moments of his life.

Those who attend can weave in and out of cells that exhibit new work by Steve McQueen, Wolfgang Tillmans, Jeanette Winterson and many others. By sitting in on readings and checking out the visual art, visitors will be able to fully experience the romanticism of Wilde’s isolation, longing and literary genius.

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