Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kiki Smith

Last week I saw the artist Kiki Smith speak at the Block Museum. It was pretty exciting experience for me because I got to the museum early to meet a friend, and it turns out Kiki Smith was there early to see the show too (for the first time.) So, for a while it was just me and her walking around the MFA exhibit and then my friend got there, and we all went up and looked at Smith's exhibit (with our ears perked up to hear what the artist and print folks were saying). Then there was a "conversation" which was quite good - Smith is a bit unusual because she's not your typical academic artist and she doesn't pretend to have the answers to everything and she's not afraid to say she's never thought about certain things or that she doesn't understand things (like color).

I think she's a brilliant printmaker and from my days in the Prints and Drawings room at the AIC I remember how people used to just go out of their minds when her prints came out. I was not nuts about her photographs, which this show is ostensibly about, although there were a fair number of sculptures and a handful of prints.

I did like the more narrative of the photos - there was one series where she is dressed as a witch with apples - she called the woman a "dumb witch" who eats her own poisoned apples and ends up dead on the forest floor. But, the apple/woman image, despite the humor of the "dumb witch", really does recall a lot of apple/woman mythology, like Eve, Sleeping Beauty, etc.

My favorite piece from the show was an Etching, aquatint, and drypoint with watercolor additions called "Pool of Tears 2 (after Lewis Carroll)". This image doesn't really do it justice... I love etchings.

This piece wasn't in the show but I think it's absolutely incredible... it's called "Born".


Lyman said...

I saw an exhibit of hers at the Whitney about 3 or 4 years ago. It was really incredible, brilliant stuff.

Carrie said...

The Born sculpture is crazy. I keep looking at it to see what's going on! I think I would like to see some of her stuff up close.