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New York

Anna Kustera

Exhibition Detail
New Work
520 W. 21st St.
New York, NY 10011


November 4th, 2010 - December 23rd, 2010
Opening: 
November 4th, 2010 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
 
Endangered Species Coat, Mimi SmithMimi Smith, Endangered Species Coat,
2007, Fabric, stuffed animals, buttons, hanger, 46x29x14 in
© Courtesy of the artist & Anna Kustera
> QUICK FACTS
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EMAIL:  
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TAGS:  
sculpture
> DESCRIPTION

Anna Kustera Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of work spanning the past six years by   
influential artist Mimi Smith.  Smith, an early maker of feminist art, has addressed clothing as 
sculpture throughout her career. Here the artist continues her explorations of sociopolitical 
imperatives-explicit or perceived-through a personalized history that constitutes not only her
own life's totem, but a timeline of femininity itself.

 

Far from being intimidated by stereotypical gender roles, Smith subverts female traditions such

as knitting, pregnancy and fashion with her intricate, handmade artifacts.  Since the 1960s,

the artist has employed unconventional materials such as steel wool, knotted thread, and

yarn to create her memorable repertoire. For this, her fourth exhibition at the gallery, the artist

presents sculptures and drawings that reference women in the military, 9/11, and the fur

industry. Perhaps most significantly, the works on display are concerned with the somewhat

cruel process of aging, which of course, can feel very much like disappearing.

 

Smith's Endangered Species Coat (2007) is constructed of a symmetrical assemblage of plush

stuffed toys and might act as ironic protection from our harsh environment. The yarn babies in

the gallery recall her 1968 Knit Baby, a piece which arose from the aftermath of the artist's

miscarriage and came complete with instructions for knitting and stuffing one's own child.

Smith's more recent dolls exist in a contemporary world inundated with fertility drugs and

terrorism.  Camouflage Maternity Dress (2004) is a direct re-imagining of the artist's

breakthrough piece entitled Maternity Dress (1966).  Sporting an identical plastic dome as its

progenitor, the camouflage version draws further attention to the maternal bump that many

expectant women go to great lengths to conceal. Smith's see-through baby-viewer evokes

incubator and bomb shelter in equal measure.  Clothing and Motherhood, within the scope

of Smith's investigations, are signifiers of womankind's collective fears, travails, transgressions

and triumphs.

 

Mimi Smith will be the subject of a survey exhibition at The Newark Museum in 2013. Her work  
was included in the seminal exhibition, 'WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution', and has been
shown at the ICA in Philadelphia, the RISD Museum in Rhode Island, The Museum of
Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington,
DC, PS 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, the Vancouver Art Gallery in Canada and
London's Hayward Gallery


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