Last year marked an important anniversary for The Girl Chewing Gum (1976), a film that made history in the structural/materialist movement, but John Smith’s films, videos, and installations are hard to classify. The British artist studied in the 1970s at the Royal College of Art, after which he became involved in the activities of the London Filmmakers Co-op.
The Shard was nuzzling a blanket of low-lying clouds as I approached Carlos/Ishikawa, the gentle flute of Don’t Look Now’s (1973) bedroom scene a welcome earworm, thanks to Shana Moulton’s Sand Saga (2008) and a stop at Emalin not long previous on the Condo trail.
Besides the current exhibition, Stag Nation, at dépendance in Brussels, you recently had solo shows at the Dallas Museum of Art and at the Kunsthalle Lüneburg. It seems to me that these shows are connected by a certain idea about American culture—something that was visible in your older works, too, but has become even more prevalent.
In “Souvenirs Relative to the Doll,” the introductory essay to Hans Bellmer’s anonymously published Die Puppe (1934), the artist writes: “Don’t stop short of the interior; lay bare suppressed girlish thoughts, so that the ground on which they stand is revealed; ideally through the navel, visible as a colorful panorama electrically illuminated deep in the stomach. Should not that be the solution?”
Maintenance Art is the first institutional retrospective focusing on the practice of the artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles, who has committed fifty years of her career to bringing to light what lies behind the scenes.