Born in Germany in 1954, the daughter of minimalist sculptor Tony Smith, Kiki Smith was raised in the United States and has earned international status as one of the most significant artists of her time. She was chiefly influenced by Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse and Lee Bontecou. While she is best known for her often dissected, anatomical sculptures, she has also produced a body of innovative printed art.
Some of the major themes that Smith explores in her printed works include physiology, self-portraiture, nature, and female iconography. While her work in both mediums share a common psychological quality, she advances beyond the strict biological emphasis in her sculpture by including images such as snowflakes and butterflies in her prints.
Smith’s work has been featured at five Venice Biennales and she has had several major solo museum shows.Smith’s work is in several major museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2017, she was made an Honorary Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts, London. In 2000 she was awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture and in 2009 the Edward MacDowell Medal. She also received the 2010 Nelson A. Rockefeller Award, Purchase College School of the Arts; the 2013 U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts, conferred by Hillary Clinton; and the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center, to name just a few. Smith is an adjunct professor at NYU and Columbia University and lives and works in New York.