Los Angeles

Alexis Smith, Easy Rider, 2016, mixed media, 21 1⁄4 × 14".

Alexis Smith, Easy Rider, 2016, mixed media, 21 1⁄4 × 14".

Alexis Smith

Parrasch Heijnen Gallery

Alexis Smith’s oeuvre slips easily into this American life. Using language and literature, toys and glamour, ads and junk shop finds, Smith descends from the droll end of West Coast Conceptualism. She turns culture over and pokes at its squirming parts with an air of critical romance and a smile. If Sol Lewitt wrote sentences on Conceptual art and John Baldessari sang them, Smith’s wry retorts follow. (“I’m like a writer who makes art,” she told an interviewer for MOCATV in 2010.) Sometimes her asides feel like they’ve slipped out of a Tom Waits song or a Jack Kerouac novel more than from the arch intellectualism of contemporary art. Even her name is stolen, borrowed from a Canadian actress—another example of the artist bending a bit of mass media to her own purposes.

Here at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery, more than forty years of the artist’s assemblage acumen stretched through eleven pieces

Sign-in 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 receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 2020 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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