Smith, Kiki

Smith, Kiki,

1954–, American sculptor and printmaker, b. Nuremberg, Germany. The daughter of sculptor Tony SmithSmith, Tony,
1912–80, American sculptor, b. South Orange, N.J., studied Art Students League, New York City (1933–37), New Bauhaus, Chicago (1937–38). Trained as a painter and architect and for a time associated with Frank Lloyd Wright, Smith had his own
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, she grew up in New Jersey and settled in New York City in 1976. Prolific and essentially self taught, she has been acclaimed as one of the most significant artists of her generation. Her audacious yet often delicate figurative works are made in many media, including bronze, steel, aluminium, wax, paper, glass, ceramic, and tapestry. She is also skilled at drawing, and has created works in such graphic media as silkscreen, lithography, aquatint, and drypoint. Smith has been fascinated with the human body, as a functioning unit and a political object. Much of her 1980s work portrays external and internal parts of the body (feet, breasts, organs, fluids), some bearing signs of mortality and decay, some evoking the ravages of AIDS. Her later sculptures are mainly bodies in the round, often life-sized and under some duress; some are flayed, some dead. Others are frank in their concern with bodily functions, e.g. Pee Body (1992); some, e.g., her St. Genevieve series, mirror her Roman Catholic background; and others reflect her concerns with storytelling, myth, and the feminine, e.g., her sculptures and prints of the Red Riding Hood story. Her more recent works tend to be less violent in imagery, often depicting animals of a gentle bestiary, often interacting with humans, and flowers. Smith teaches at Columbia and New York Univ.


See W. Weitman, Kiki Smith: Prints, Books and Things (2003), H. Posner and C. Lyon, Kiki Smith (2005), and S. Engberg et al., Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980–2005 (2006).

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Perreault and other mainstream commentators didn't find much news in "New York/New Wave," but looking over a list of contributing artists, I find quite a few names who went on to serious things: Kathy Acker, David Armstrong, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Byrne, Sarah Charlesworth, Henry Chalfant, Larry Clark, Arch Connelly, Jimmy de Sana, Dondi, Brian Eno, Fab 5 Freddy, Peter Fend, Futura 2000, Jedd Garet, Nan Goldin, Keith Haring, Duncan Hannah, Roberto Juarez, Bill Komoski, Greer Lankton, Lady Pink, Marcus Leatherdale, Arto Lindsay, Judy Linn, John Lurie, Lydia Lunch, Ann Magnuson, Christoper Makos, Robert Mapplethorpe, Frank Moore, Lee Quinones (LEE), Rene Ricard, Kenny Scharf, Kate Simon, Duncan Smith, Kiki Smith, Steven Sprouse, Ken Tisa, Harvey Wang, Larry Williams, Robin Winters.