Kiki Smith
American artist



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Kiki Smith
American artist
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Arty Fact

ldewey's picture


German born artist Kiki Smith grew up in a Catholic family in humble South Orange, New Jersey-- a township with a little under 5,000 households.

Her opera singer mother and sculptor father were something of a saving grace, managing to pass on their creative mojo to Smith despite the banality of a Jersey childhood.
After graduating from high school, Smith studied baking and trained as an EMT. She was enrolled at Hartford Art School in Connecticut for 18 months but was waaay too cool for school and dropped out in favor of a move to New York City. In New York, Smith’s artistic career took off. Her work has focused on touchy subjects like reproductive rights, AIDS, domestic violence, and her own Catholic roots. A badass artist...but perhaps not the safest dinner party guest.

Despite the controversial nature of much of her work, Smith is also hugely popular abroad and her work hangs in consulates in both Istanbul and Mumbai. In 2006, she was one of TIME Magazine’s “TIME 100: The People Who Shape Our World.” She also received the U.S. State Department Medal of Arts from Hillary Clinton in 2012-- pretty conclusively demonstrating that Kiki Smith is a total star. If only she were as famous as Snookie.


amcneary's picture


Daughter of sculptor Tony Smith, Kiki is carrying on the family business. 

As a college student she dropped out, moved to New York (like everyone who grows up in New Jersey), and became a self-described "thing maker." 

Smith takes research for her work to the limit. She went so far as to study to become an emergency medical technician in order to gain a better understanding of the human body, as it became a central focus in her work.

I think she'd be a lot of fun at a dinner party. In fact, Kiki, if you read this and are hungry in San Francisco, just say the word!



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Here is what Wikipedia says about Kiki Smith

Kiki Smith (born January 18, 1954) is a West German-born American artist whose work has addressed the themes of sex, birth and regeneration. Her figurative work of the late 1980s and early 1990s confronted subjects such as AIDS and gender, while recent works have depicted the human condition in relationship to nature. Smith lives and works in the Lower East Side, New York City, and the Hudson Valley, New York State.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Kiki Smith.