SculptureCenter, in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School, presents the artist-led lecture series Subjective Histories of Sculpture. Initiated in 2006, the series explores how contemporary artists think about sculpture, its history, legacies, and potential for innovation.
This year, Martin Kersels, Agnieszka Kurant, and Allison Smith are presenting their own take on art history within the framework of the Vera List Center’s curatorial theme Thingness. With sculpture as point of departure and source of inspiration, they explore the material conditions of our lives. Engaging with a rich collection of social, cultural, and political associations, the artists consider the body as a performative object, consider objects for the construction of identity, and negotiate the tension and translation between material and immaterial experience. Citing specific works or bodies of work, texts, and personal anecdotes taken from inside and outside cultural production – and inside and outside Art – these subjective, incomplete, partial, or otherwise eclectic histories propose alternative methods for understanding sculpture's evolving strategies.
Allison Smith is known for creating large-scale installations, public art projects, performative sculptures, and participatory workshops and events. Her practice draws from an interest in historical reenactments as well as folk art and craft histories to explore constructions of national identity and experiences of violence. She takes a specific interest in objects made by soldiers in trenches during times of war. Her recent work has explored war using contemporary metaphors and current events to draw connections with memory, materials, and domesticity. Engaging civilians and military service members through hands-on workshops, Smith also attempts to provoke memories of forgotten histories that initiate real conversations about the human experience in the face of violence.
Allison Smith was born in Manassas, Virginia, in 1972. She holds a BA in Psychology from The New School (1995), a BFA from Parsons The New School of Design (1995), and an MFA from Yale University (1999). She participated in the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program (2000). Smith has held solo exhibitions and produced artist-led projects at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum; Berkeley Art Museum; and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Andy Warhol Museum, MoMA P.S.1, and Palais de Tokyo, among others. Smith is the 2012 Artadia artist-in-residence at the International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York. She currently lives and works in Oakland, California, and is the Chair of the Sculpture Program at California College of the Arts.
Presented on the occasion of the Vera List Center’s 2011-2013 curatorial focus theme Thingness.
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Image: Allison Smith, Fort Point Bunting, 2012. Painted linen, military webbing, grommets, hemp rope. 75 swags, each swag 32 x 72”. Courtesy the artist.
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