Alexis Smith: Private Lives and Public Affairs

Jan 20, 2018 - Apr 1, 2018

Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art

Pepperdine University
24255 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA 90263

Phone Number: (310) 506-4851
Contact: General Information

For over 40 years, Alexis Smith's art has explored the depths of popular culture. She begins with an array of images-ranging from thrift-store finds to nostalgic advertisements-and juxtaposes them with poetic and poignant texts. Her art underscores how the media shapes our self-image and reminds us that meaning is often fugitive and always surprising.

This exhibition focuses on key works from the 1980s, juxtaposed with more recent pieces. The centerpiece is Past Lives (1989) a room-sized installation created with poet Amy Gerstler that recreates a mythical American elementary school classroom. This psychically charged stage set features over sixty historic children's chairs, collected by the artist for decades. Enigmatic texts on the walls read like excerpts from a report-card or employee review. These empty chairs remind us of the countless lives shaped in school rooms like this and allude to the complicated feelings-ranging from hope to regret-that emerge in our recollections of childhood.

Event Type: Exhibition