Bruce Silverstein Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by multi-disciplinary American artist Keith A. Smith at Frieze Masters. Best known as a prolific maker of unique handbound multi-media artist books, Smith has also created works on fabric, collages, photographs, sculpture, and postcards; examples of which will all be on view in order
to illustrate a complete picture of the artist’s practice from over the past 50 years.
Since the mid 1960s, Smith has taken a non-purist approach to photography and book-making. His disinterest in categorizing his work set him apart from his peers and made him a rogue member of both the photography and printmaking departments at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Smith has sewn his photographs into quilts, explored etching, drawing and transferring his images to shoes and fabrics, but the sequencing of images into a “book experience” has remained a keen interest throughout his career. Smith’s experimentation with new materials and technological processes has resulted in over 300 unique artist books, each lovingly and laboriously conceived, crafted and presented. They define the notion of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. These intricate works are often radical departures from conventional books–made of string or covered in fabric, they unfold, light-up, do not open, are unbound, or are punched full of holes. They both surprise and delight the viewer, inviting one to explore and experience a wholly unique definition of book. Time weaves back and forth in Smith’s work and certain other themes
recur: desire, memory, poetry, repetition and sequence.
Born in 1938 in Tipton, Indiana, Smith received his B.A.E. from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1967 and his M.S. from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1968. He has taught at the Visual Studies Workshop, UCLA, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of Illinois. Since joining Bruce Silverstein, the artist has had
four solo exhibitions at the gallery. Smith’s work has been exhibited widely in the United States and internationally. Most recently his work was the subject of the retrospective Keith Smith at Home, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Other exhibitions include the International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House; Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, Turin; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s 1978 survey of American Photography since 1960, alongside prominent photographers William Eggleston and Lee Friedlander. In 1988, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts organized a major retrospective of his work. Smith is the recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships, a National Endowment of the Arts grant, and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant.
Major museum collections holding works by the artist include the Art Institute of Chicago; Center of Creative Photography, University of Arizona; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House, Rochester; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Getty
Museum, Los Angeles; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He lives and works in Rochester, New York.