International Studio Programme : January 2009

Barbara T. Smith


Barbara T. Smith, Field Piece, 1968-72 Installation Shot 'Whatever Happened to Sex in Scandinavia?' Courtesy of the artist and The Box, Los Angeles, USA Photo: Vegard Kleven

For three decades, Barbara T. Smith has been at the forefront of feminist, body and performance art in California, USA. Trained as a painter, Smith began her body-oriented work in 1965. As one of the originators of California performance art scene, Smith worked together with artists such as Nancy Buchanan, Chris Burden, Allan Kaprow, Suzanne Lacy and Paul McCarthy. Her work is aligned with 1970s art practice that explores, among other things, the body and the patriarchal structures within the art world. Her work externalises psychic materials, in the form of mythic rituals that deal with issues of gender, spirituality and sexuality. Smith approaches the intimate, personal and participatory, and often the works evolves into extending over several days.

Barbara T. Smith is a founding member of several artist-run galleries and is Chair of the Performance and Video Programming Committee at the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art. She has worked as a curator and organised many panel discussions, performance events and workshops. Smith has also written about other artists' work in various West Coast publications, gave numerous guest lectures and taught in California universities since 1974.

Barbara T. Smith recently had a solo show 'Barbara T. Smith 1965-1972', at Maccarone, New York City (2008). For the exhibition 'Allan Kaprow - Art As Life', Smith reinventedPush and Pull: A Furniture Comedy for Hans Hofmann (1963), MOCA, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2008). Her work was also part of the exhibitions: 'Art Since the1960s: California Experiments', Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach (2008), 'WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution', The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, curated by Connie Butler (2007), among others.

During the symposium 'Art, the Social and Gender Politics in the 1960s and 1970s', Smith gave the presentation Art, Performance and the Body: Barbara T. Smith and the West Coast scene in the 1960s and 70s, which she discussed her engagement with the West Coast art scene in California, USA during this period, focusing on the new forms of performance art, participation, gender, spirituality and the body.

Jonas Mekas


Jonas Mekas Still from Notes on Marie Menken Courtesy of Mina Film

Jonas Mekas (b. 1922) is one of the leading figures of American avant-garde filmmaking or the 'New American Cinema'. He was editor and chief of Film Culture and wrote Movie Journal, a film column for the Village Voice. He is the co-founder of The Filmmakers' Co-operative (FMC) and the Filmmakers' Cinematheque, which eventually grew into Anthology Film Archives, one of the world's largest and most important repositories of avant-garde films. Among films made by Jonas Mekas are Guns of the Trees (1961), The Brig (1963),Walden (1969), Lost, Lost, Lost (1975), Reminiscences of a Voyage to Lithuania (1972), Zefiro torna, (1992) and As I was Moving Ahead, Occasionally I saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2001). Jonas Mekas' films have been screened extensively and he received innumerous grants and awards, among them, New York State Council on the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts.