OPEN BOOK: A LECTURE BY VISITING ARTIST BARBARA T. SMITH

OPEN BOOK: A LECTURE BY VISITING ARTIST BARBARA T. SMITH

Thursday, November 17, 2011 - 11:11

Barbara T. Smith, a pioneer in West Coast performance art, was born in 1931 in Pasadena, California.  She studied painting, art history, and comparative religions at Pomona College and received her MFA from the University of California, Irvine in 1971.  With Nancy Buchanan, Chris Burden, and other of her cohort, Smith co-founded the student-run F-Space Gallery as a venue for experimental work that could not be staged on campus, such as Burden's notorious Shoot (1971) and Smith's Nude Frieze (1972).  Smith's pieces often emphasized corporeality as in Field Piece (1971) and ceremony as in The Celebration of the Holy Squash (1971).

It is a common characteristic of performance artists that they are captivating people, and Smith is no exception.  It is less a sense of theatricality or flair, as with an actor, than one of dimly perceived mystical knowledge.  Performance artists, particularly those of Smith's generation, tread closer than most to the danger zones of the human psyche, leaving them uniquely prone to both revelation and burnout.  Smith describes a breakthrough she had in the early 1960s, for instance, in near breathless terms even 50 years later: "My whole internal structure completely changed.  Visually, what I saw the whole world became miraculous." - Holly Myers, Special to the Los Angeles Time, September 18, 2011.

Open Book: A Lecture by Visiting Artist Barbara T. Smith
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 | 11:30 AM
ART 160