Kiki Smith (American, b. 1954, Nuremberg, Germany) has been known since the 1980s for her multidisciplinary practice relating to the human condition and the natural world. She uses a broad variety of materials to continuously expand and evolve a body of work that includes sculpture, printmaking, photography, drawing, and textiles.
Smith has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions worldwide including over 25 museum exhibitions. Her work has been featured at five Venice Biennales, including the 2017 edition. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2017 was awarded the title of Honorary Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Previously, Smith was recognized in 2006 by TIME Magazine as one of the “TIME 100: The People Who Shape Our World.” Other awards include the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture in 2000; the 2009 Edward MacDowell Medal; the 2010 Nelson A. Rockefeller Award, Purchase College School of the Arts; the 2013 U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts, conferred by Hillary Clinton; and the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center, among others. She is an adjunct professor at NYU and Columbia University.
New York – Pace Gallery is pleased to present Kiki Smith: Wonder, a major exhibition that presents the artist’s investigation of the natural and spiritual worlds through works made of aluminum, bronze, fine silver, textile, stained and hand-blown antique glass, and paint. On view at 510 West 25th Street from February 28 through March 29, 2014, Kiki Smith: Wonder is the artist’s first major New York gallery show in four years and marks the 20th anniversary of the artist’s first solo exhibition at the Pace Gallery.
In a series of works from 2011 to 2014, Smith again explores the rich terrain of expressions of human and animal forms as well as celestial bodies and nature. Decay, rebirth, and eternal cycles of the seasons, nature, and eclipses recur throughout Kiki Smith: Wonder in works that illustrate Smith’s ability to move fluidly between materials with vastly different characteristics and properties.
Among the works in the exhibition are a series of sculptures, up to 13-feet across, of hoarfrost, the cyclically recurring crystallization of water vapor. Where artists for decades have rendered depictions of hoarfrost as decorations of landscape, Smith makes the ephemeral phenomenon the subject of works themselves. Fabricated from fine silver or stainless steel, the interlocking two-dimensional panels are arranged in seemingly random formations and reflect on the passage of winter to spring.
Smith’s current glassworks are seen in several major pieces that extend up to 16 feet across: Prelude, of felled trees, Raptor I and Raptor II, of birds in flight, and Rogue Stars, a series of eight stars made of opal white and antique glass. Although Smith has worked with glass for 20 years, she has refocused on the medium though recent public commissions, including her Art Production Fund installation of 2012, Kiki Smith’s Chorus, and the 16-foot East Window for the Museum at Eldridge Street / Eldridge Street Synagogue, both in New York and from 2012.
Lunar eclipses, shooting stars, moons, and orbs – of aluminum or bronze – are among the celestial works, some monumental, in the exhibition. Eden-like scenes are presented in a series of jacquard tapestries showing deer, a woman, fallen trees, and the fleeting intricacy of spider webs: images that suggest the majesty of nature, a subject reflected also in roughly 13-foot unique bronze sculptures, Crest and Crown.
Kiki Smith: Wonder opens immediately following the closing of Kiki Smith: Transformations, an exhibition at UNT on the Square, the arts space of the University of North Texas, Denton, where Smith was artist in residence of the Institute for the Advancement of the Arts in 2013 – 2014.
Smith’s other recent museum shows include Visionary Sugar: Works by Kiki Smith, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York, Purchase, and Kiki Smith, Gund Gallery, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, both 2012; Kiki Smith: Rituals, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, 2011–2012; and Kiki Smith: Sojourn, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum, New York, 2010.
The illustrated catalogue for the exhibition will be available at the gallery.
Kiki Smith (b. 1954, Nuremberg, Germany) is an artist of international prominence whose career has spanned over three decades. She is a leading figure among artists addressing philosophical, social, and spiritual aspects of human nature. Since 1982, her work has been exhibited in nearly 150 solo exhibitions at museums and galleries worldwide and has been featured in hundreds of significant group exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial, New York (1991, 1993, 2002); La Biennale di Firenze, Florence, Italy (1996-1997; 1998); and La Biennale di Venezia (1993, 1999, 2005, 2009). Her work is held in more than forty important public collections in the United States and abroad.
Smith’s recent awards include the U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts for Art in Embassies (2013), the Theo Westenberger Women of Excellence Award, as well as the Nelson A. Rockefeller Award from Purchase College’s School of the Arts (2010). She received the Women in the Arts Award from the Brooklyn Museum (2009), the 50th Edward MacDowell Medal (2009), the Medal Award from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2006), the Athena Award for Excellence in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design (2006), the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine (2000), and Time Magazine’s “Time 100: The People Who Shape Our World” (2006). Smith was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, in 2005.
Kiki Smith lives and works in New York City. She has been represented by The Pace Gallery since 1994.
2014. Pace Gallery. Hardcover
48 pages: 24 color illustrations; 10 ¾ x 9 inches