Keith Smith's Public Intimacies at the Philadelphia Museum of Art | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Keith Smith's Public Intimacies at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

"Margaret Gave me a Rainbow, 2:30 pm 21 November 1971," 1971, by Keith Smith (American, b. 1938). Collage of electrostatic print (photocopy [3-M Color-in-Color]) transferred to manila paper; gold foil adhesive-backed star; multi-colored wool yarn and cotton thread; cut gelatin silver print; and rayon tassel fringe, machine, and hand stitched to green cotton plain weave and gold rayon faille.
(Courtesy of Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York. © Keith Smith)

The American artist Keith Smith has said that he’s a timid man, but not a timid artist. Smith boldly puts the intimacies of home in his works — most notably in his artist books, which portray his relationships, sense of self and internal landscape. Now the artist’s captivating and personal works are being displayed in a solo exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “Keith Smith at Home” will be on display at the museum until July 8, 2018.

The exhibition brings together more than 60 works made over the past 50 years. They include his handmade artist’s books and experimental photographs, prints, collages, and fabric pieces. The exhibition places special emphasis on his artist’s books — the most notable of his works.

“In his work, Keith Smith irreverently disregards the supposed dividing lines between "fine art’ (photography, etching, watercolor), ‘craft’ (sewing, quilting, bookmaking), and ‘utilitarian technologies’ (transparencies, photocopies),” the museum notes. “Although his subject matter is rooted in his personal life, he also grapples with universal themes such as self-representation, domesticity, and intimacy.”

 “Book Number 82, Keith Smith at Home,” 1982, epitomizes the artist’s oeuvre. It displays a sequence of views of his house in Rochester, New York, where he has lived since 1975. “Book Number 11, Up,” 1969, demonstrates how Smith has innovated the genre, alternating film-positive transparencies with opaque pages.

“Keith Smith at Home” also features a selection of handmade postcards, a format that Smith has experimented with since the 1960s and fabric pieces from the 1960s and 1970s.

Smith has made over 300 artist’s books and has written over half a dozen instructional manuals on bookbinding. He’s received two Guggenheim fellowships, one National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and his work is represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, among others.

The exhibition will be on view through July 8, 2018, at Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130, USA.

For details, visit:

Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition.


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