Patti Smith’s long, slender fingers trembled just thinking about being a writer during the presidency of Donald Trump. “I don’t know how people are even able to contain themselves and contain their rage,” Smith said, “I always felt, even if I didn’t agree with whomever was our president, I felt that I could still walk tall wherever I want. I still was myself. But there’s something about this current administration where I feel tainted as a human being.”
On Monday night (Dec. 4) at the Whitney Museum in Manhattan, Smith and Salman Rushdie commiserated about Trump and otherwise compared notes on everything from the writing process to their favorite painters. They were guests at the annual “Chairman’s Evening” hosted by the MacDowell artist colony and were interviewed by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and MacDowell chairman Michael Chabon. MacDowell has a long history of bringing artists together and previous Chairman’s Evening pairings have included Martin Scorsese with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Stephen Sondheim with Paul Simon.