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Michael Smith_

Monday April 11 2005

In July 2005 Michael Smith was selected by the Center's Artistic Advisory Board to produce a new project at the Center in 2005-2006. Click here to learn more.

Michael Smith, an influential figure in video, performance, and installation since the early 1980s, is known for his eponymous performance persona named Mike, the central figure in an ongoing series of large-scale narrative-based projects. Mike, an innocent who continually falls victim to trends and fashions as he negotiates an imperfect landscape, allows Smith to comment on discrepancies and absurdities in our culture while creating an unsettling mixture of humor and pathos.

In his presentation at CAVS, Smith discussed historical work as well as recent projects. Additionally, a selection of videos and documentation of installations were on view April 11 and 12. CAVS asked Michael Smith to select inspirations and favorites to help contextualize his work. These picks were also on view at The Center:

Horatio Alger, Jr., Ragged Dick , 1868
Samuel Beckett, Krapp’s Last Tape , 1957
Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People , 1936
Dale Carnegie, The Quick & Easy Way to Effective Speaking , 1962
Richard Foreman, “Foundations for a Theater” from Unbalancing Acts , 1992
Alfred Jarry, Ubu Roi , 1893
Alfred Jarry, Adventures in Pataphysics: Collected Works (1873-1907)
Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman , 1949
Barbara Walters, How to talk with practically anybody about practically anything , 1970
Voltaire, Candide , 1759

Films & Videos
Vito Acconci, “Theme Song”, 1973
Buster Keaton, “The Cameraman” 1928
Jacques Tati, “M. Hulot’s Holiday” 1954 & “Mon Oncle” 1958

Blowfly , selected tracks, 2004

Smith has shown his work extensively around the US, Canada and Europe at a variety of venues including museums, galleries, universities, festivals, night clubs, on television and in the streets. In New York City he has had solo shows and screenings at The Whitney Museum, The New Museum, The Leo Castelli Gallery, The Christine Burgin Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art. Michael Smith received his Bachelor of Arts from The Colorado College and attended the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. He has taught in the Master of Fine Arts programs at Yale, Cranbrook, UCLA, Art Center, Columbia, CalArts and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. He has received numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, three National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Fellowships, two New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) awards and most recently a 2003 Research Grant from the University of Texas at Austin.

+   Mike , 1987. Still from color video.

+   Go for It, Mike , 1984. Still from color video.

+   Secret Horror , 1980. Still from color video.

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