Los Angeles

Alexis Smith

Rosamund Felsen Gallery and Margo Leavin Gallery

Alexis Smith’s appropriations of texts come from popular literature ranging from Thomas Bulfinch’s Mythology to Raymond Chandler novels and pulp romances. They are illustrated by images appropriated from popular art—movie stills, plastic trinkets, wallpaper, jewelry, tarot cards, coins, magazine ads, Chinese firecrackers, and so on. Through the accretions of time, repetition, and haphazard consensus, cultural truths solidify into cliches; Smith’s collages attempt to liquefy, then vaporize these edifices without letting go of the truths calcified within.

Her problem in the past has been to find a formal structure for her art. Her original format—found objects attached to sheets of paper with the narrative typed across the bottom—seemed as ephemeral as the detritus from which it was fashioned. By contrast, the presentation of these sheets, encased edge-to-edge in long Plexiglas

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the January 1983 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.