Michael E. Smith’s sculptures strip everyday objects down to their most minimal state. In his constructions, Smith employs materials both natural and manmade, highlighting a tension between a culture of abundance and the rapid loss of reserves. Organizing the installation of his sculptures and videos around existing architectural features, Smith builds an emotional tenor throughout the spaces of his exhibitions. Tied to their sources, the works reveal the social and economic factors involved in their making. Originating from the discarded elements of our society, they bear with them the accumulated traces of human experience, evoking simultaneously their future and their loss.
Michael E. Smith lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions that include: Henry Moore Institute, Leed, 2023, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, 2021, Secession, Vienna, 2020, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, 2018, SMAK, Ghent, 2017, Kunstverein Hannover, 2015, De Appel, Amsterdam, 2015, Sculpture Center, Queens, 2015, La Triennale di Milano, Milan, 2014, Power Station, Dallas, 2014, CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, 2013 and Contemporary Art Museum, St Louis, 2011, among others. Smith's work was included in May You Live in Interesting Times, the 58th Venice Biennale, and additionally, he participated in Quiet as It’s Kept, the 2022 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, as well as the 2012 edition of the Whitney Biennial. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, SFMoMA, San Francisco, MCA Chicago, SMAK, Ghent, and Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany, among others.