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Walker Art Center

Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980–2005

Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980–2005

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Edited by Siri Engberg


Widely considered to be one of the most engaging and fascinating artists of our time, Kiki Smith has, over the past 25 years, developed into a major figure in the world of twenty-first-century art. Her subject matter is as wide-ranging as the materials her work has encompassed. In the 1980s, with her earliest figural sculptures in plaster, glass and wax, Smith developed an elaborate vocabulary around the forms and functions of the body and its metaphorical as well as physical relationship to society. By the early 1990s, she began to engage with themes of a more religious and mythological nature. Her re-imaginings of biblical women as inhabitants of physical bodies--rather than as abstract bearers of doctrine--led her to make series of sculptural works related to the figure of the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, Lilith and others. The artist has more recently considered fairy tales and folk narratives as well as nurturing a growing menagerie of work concerned with animals and the natural world. Smith has now earned a considerable reputation as a virtuoso printmaker and draftsperson, and as a re-inventor of the startling sculptural possibilities present in materials ranging from paper and resin to bronze and porcelain. Organized by the Walker Art Center with the full collaboration of the artist, the exhibition Kiki Smith represents the artist's first full-scale monograph.

This book documents artist Kiki Smith’s first major career survey and includes an illustrated chronology, bibliography, exhibition history, artist interview, and an original artwork insert by the artist. Smith’s work frequently references the human body, which is echoed directly on the cover with a self-portrait made using the artist’s hair and on the endpapers with thermographic replicas of the artist’s arm tattoos. Indirectly, the book is conceived as an object with its own material body, reflected in the edge-painting that enhances its object-like status and the soft tonality of the paper that communicates the warmth and fleshiness of the work. The mix of classical and modern typography mirrors Smith’s interest in the historical and contemporary aspects of religion and science.

  • Walker Art Center, 2005
  • Hardcover, 8.25 x 10.5 inches
  • 312 pages


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