Have you ever played the game 6 degrees from Kevin Bacon? You play by trying to link yourself to Kevin Bacon through who you know.
Well, if you we were to play that game with the world-famous artist Kiki Smith, I would win because I can get there in one small step.
I don’t actually know Kiki, but a friend of mine spent several summers living in New York working with her, making art. At that time, many years ago, I was lucky enough to spend a week in New York going to galleries and meeting artists all over the place.
I usually leave it to Todd to talk about world-famous artists, with his massive knowledge of art history, I feel he is much more qualified. Writing about Kiki intimidates me. Her work is far more political and metaphysical than can be understood by a humble crafter with the word “duh” in the title of her blog. But because of my personal connection, I want to be the one to share her with our readers.
Todd and I saw many of Kiki’s pieces last spring when we went to explore the art museums and galleries of San Fransisco. But I don’t think I realized just how famous she is until I saw her work featured on the hit TV show Gilmore Girls. In the episode, Lorelei’s mom gave her Kiki’s Wolf Girl as a wedding gift, and Lorelei hated it. Wish she would give it to me instead!!
Kiki amazes me because she has mastered so many mediums. She grew up doing the things that I like to do – embroidery, crochet and sewing. She makes sculptures in plaster and bronze, she knows everything about printmaking, she teaches, makes books, works with glass, weaves and etches.
One of Kiki’s installations that I love is a group of 47 bronze ravens that are laying dead on the ground. She made this after reading in the newspaper that a flock of birds was flying along and suddenly all of them dropped dead and fell from the sky. She is also know for including bodily functions and fluids in her work, for example, her sculpture of a woman urinating yellow beads.
Kiki had this to say about the repetition that is such a huge part (and probably my favorite part) of art making, “I think there’s a spiritual power in repetition, a devotional quality, like saying a rosarie.”
Another thing that fasinates me about Kiki, is that she isn’t afraid to cross over into the more commercial world of fashion and collectibles. For instance, she designed a purse for Coach and has worked with Steuben Glass to make crystal vases and animals. I don’t know about you, but I get tired of snobby artists who believe if its not in a gallery, its not art.
Well, please enjoy some of Kiki’s images. Some are disturbing and others beautiful. And if you are interested, take a look at the links below to learn more about her. Drop us a comment if you have thoughts to add, love it or hate it, we would love to hear from you.