Born in 1954 in Nuremberg, Germany, Kiki Smith grew up in New Jersey, where, as a young girl, she assisted her father, artist Tony Smith, by making cardboard models for his geometric sculptures. This training in formalist systems, combined with her upbringing in the Catholic Church, would later resurface in Smith’s evocativesculptures, drawings, and prints. In the 1980s, Smith literally turned figurative sculpture inside out, creating objects and drawings based on organs, cellular forms, and the human nervous system. This body of work evolved to incorporate animals, domestic objects, and narrative tropes from classical mythology and folk tales. Life, death, and resurrection, are thematic signposts in many of Smith’s installations and sculptures. In several of her pieces, including Lying with the Wolf, Wearing the Skin, and Rapture, Smith takes her inspiration from the life of St. Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. Portrayed communing with a wolf, having been born from its womb, Smith’s character of Genevieve embodies the complex, symbolic relationships between humans and animals. Smith received the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture (2000), the Athena Award for Excellence in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design (2005), and the fiftieth Edward MacDowell Medal (2009). Smith has participated in the Whitney Biennial three times in the past decade. In 2005, Smith was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work is in numerous prominent museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center, Whitney Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Smith’s bronze installation, Women with Sheep (Three Women, Three Sheep) 2009, is one of our summer highlights.
[powr-photo-gallery label="KIKI SMITH"]