On View: Kiki Smith in Her Natural Habitat

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Published February 16, 2010

Opening a Kiki Smith exhibition at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art seems like the obvious choice for the Brooklyn Museum, being as the artist is the reigning queen of feminist art in America. On Thursday night, Smith accepted yet another crown, graciously welcoming an understated group of fellow artists including Mark Seliger, Fred Wilson and Susanna Moore to celebrate the opening of her new exhibition, Kiki Smith: Sojourn. Building on the increasingly alluring (and eerie) period rooms surrounding the contemporary galleries, Smith transformed the white halls of the museum into an ethereal, intimate domestic space using over sixty pieces in a range of media including cast objects, unique sculpture and works on paper.

A number of guests at the event, including a few saintly children, were models for the subjects in Smith’s works. They were jarringly lifelike in comparison to their spectral renderings in ink, graphite and colored pencil on the wrinkled and cindered folds of Nepal paper pasted to the walls. Dispersed throughout the rooms were sculptures that moored the outer walls of the exhibition with their physical presence. In Singer (2008), a silvery young woman seems to offer a papal benediction, one arm held above her head and the other gripping a bouquet of flowers, as if to christen the audience into the fading spiritual world framing the real space in which they moved freely. SEE THE REST OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND REVIEW ON ART IN AMERICA.

KIKI SMITH: SOJOURN IS ON VIEW THROUGH SEPTEMBER 12. THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM IS LOCATED AT 200 EASTERN PARKWAY, BROOKLYN.