• Melanie Smith, Commercial Mexicana Mixcoac, 2000, color photograph on aluminum, 10 1/4 x 13'.

    Melanie Smith

    MIT List Visual Arts Center
    20 Ames Street E15
    February 5–April 5, 2009

    Curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina

    Mexico City’s unruly order has proved fertile for Melanie Smith. Since the British-born artist relocated to the city some twenty years ago, she has produced artworks that—whether executed in the medium of photography, video, installation, or performance—position the lush materiality and bold colors of the megalopolis in dialogue with painting. Smith’s approach affords an oblique view that deftly reveals structures of social and economic exchange, as this survey, which travels from Mexico City and features twenty-three works made between 1992 and 2006, will demonstrate. The show’s eponymous Spiral City, 2002, a video made in collaboration with artist Rafael Ortega, depicts the city in a circling aerial view, geometricizing its entropic sprawl; references to Robert Smithson intersect with compositional abstraction, offering a productive mode of entry for audiences unfamiliar with Smith’s work.