Kiki Smith (b. 1954) is a leading contemporary artist with a career spanning more than three decades. Known primarily for her sculpture and works on paper, Smith is a wildly experimental and innovative printmaker. She is constantly pushing the boundaries in the field in all areas, including style, technique, and imagery. Her work addresses feminist, philosophical, social, sexual, and political aspects of human nature, employing non-traditional materials. Her early work, transgressive in nature, dealt with mortality and decay, while her more recent work explores the natural world, portraiture, fairy tales, and myths.
Born in Nuremberg, Germany, Smith was raised in New Jersey and attended Hartford Art School for a year and a half before moving to New York. The Kitchen in New York hosted Smith’s first solo exhibition in 1982. Major solo shows have since been held at the Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva; Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA; Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN. The Museum of Modern Art featured Smith’s works on paper in a major exhibition in 2003, titled “Kiki Smith: Prints, Books, and Things,” with an accompanying catalog by Wendy Weitman. Kiki Smith was also the subject of major surveys at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2006-07 and the Brooklyn Museum in 2010.
Smith received the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture in 2000, the Athena Award for Excellence in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2005, the fiftieth Edward MacDowell Medal from the MacDowell Colony in 2009, and 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.
Smith’s work is in numerous prominent museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Smith lives and works in New York City.